iPhone Adams County: Postcards by Ken Knox
Gettysburg native (and Lark employee) Ken Knox has launched iPhone Adams County, a brand new line of original postcards depicting the lush agricultural landscapes and historic battlefield sites of Adams County in a stylized and artistic manner as seen through the eyes of an avid iPhone user.
Knox, who returned to Gettysburg after 14 years working as a freelance entertainment journalist in Los Angeles (and who also works as a reporter for the Gettysburg Times), says he created the line to not only offer an artistic and high-quality alternative to the mass-produced cards typically found in local gift shops, but to also capture his own personal viewpoint.
With the line debuting at Lark before it goes on sale in other stores around town, we caught up with Ken to grill him on his process.
So why postcards?
My dad owned a couple of motels when I was growing up, and I remember the cards he would sell in the office and those sold in other stores around town as being kind of cheap-looking, and I just kept thinking that there had to be a market for something beyond just the standard battlefield and canon shots. I’ve been taking pictures of Adams County pretty much my whole life, and people kept commenting that I had a unique way of seeing things and should do something with them. I started with a page on Facebook, and the response was positive enough that I decided that creating postcards seemed like a no-brainer.
Tell us about the sites you chose to feature in the line.
I really wanted to get a mix of shots in there, to appeal to not just historians and Civil War buffs, but also lovers of the beautiful scenery Gettysburg and Adams County have to offer. There are some canon pics in there, and pics of places like Devil’s Den, the Farnsworth House and Sach’s Covered Bridge, but I wanted these cards to not look like all the others you see on postcard racks around town. I know from living in Gettysburg that it’s usually the wives who are buying the postcards and sending them out from the trips their husbands drag them along on, so I thought there should be some cards in there that would appeal to them as well. (Laughs)
Do you do all the editing on an iPhone?
Yeah, pretty much. There are several great photo editing apps available on smart phones these days, and I wanted to take a DIY approach to starting my own business to demonstrate how easy it can be for anyone with an idea to just get something started, so that’s why I went with iPhone pics as opposed to using a super-expensive professional camera. It’s the technological equivalent to Mickey and Judy putting on a show in the back yard. (Laughs)
Are there plans to take it beyond just postcards?
There are. I’m starting really slow though. [Lark owner] Timbrel [Wallace] was the first store owner in town to say she would sell my postcards in her store, and she’s had one on sale since October, and it sold okay in the off-season. But now comes the real test: 20 different cards on sale during tourist season. If they do well, I’d love to expand the line to include calendars, coffee table books and T-shirts, and I’d love for local B&Bs and hotels and other businesses to hire me to create postcards that they can sell exclusively to their customers. I’d love for this to become a boutique cottage industry.
It must be nice to come back home and do something that makes you happy.
It is. Even when I was away at college and living in Los Angeles, I couldn’t get Gettysburg out of my mind, and I always knew I would come back here at some point to regroup and reconnect with my childhood. I tried to bring the town to life the way that I have always remembered it: as an idyllic and picture-perfect little hamlet that you can’t help but fall in love with, and I hope I’ve been successful in doing that. No matter where I may end up next, Gettysburg will always be home, and I hope people see that in my work.