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First Presbyterian Church, Oklahoma City, OK

February 11, 2017

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These images of Oklahoma City’s First Presbyterian church tell two stories. The more obvious is a truth about the penny postcard industry that sprang up about 1880. Eventually, the production of these cards took place far, far from the actually scenes they represented; many were printed in Germany, an early incident of “outsourcing.” The photo was taken and the negative sent to the printer with minimal information. The printer prepared two plates: one for printing in black and white, the other for color. But very often the colors were not recorded by the original photographer, leaving someone in Hamburg to interpret what she/he saw. These two cards record the same building and the differences in interpretation that were an inherent part of the process.

If you focu on the right hand elevation, you can also see how two sequential images record subtle changes in the building itself: in the bottom image there is only one bay to the right of the portico, whereas in the top there has been an addition (or a separate building with uncanny similarity).

Built at Ninth and Robinson some time before 1911, it served until about 1954.


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