Snowboarding Goes Postal

What do you think the chances are that you could be immortalized on a United States postage stamp? According to Postal Service criteria for stamp subject selection, "no living person shall be honored by portrayal on U.S. postage."

So how did a northwest Montana local named Daniel Karvacz find himself–rather an altered of himself–snowboarding on a 33-cent postage stamp? The answer is pure luck.

Starting in June, an extreme-sport series of stamps will be issued including snowboarding, BMX, skateboarding, and in-line skating. Although none of the athletes are recognizable, the stamps came from real photos and were digitally altered and enhanced.

To get to that point, there’s an extensive selection process starting with the Postmaster General. To help in selection, the Postmaster General appoints the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee whose fifteen members represent a wide variety of educational, artistic, historical, and professional expertise. The CSAC meets four times a year in Washington, D.C. with the primary goal of evaluating the merit of all stamp proposals.

Once a subject such as extreme sports is approved, artwork and designs are put in the hands of art directors, in this case Carl Herrman. According to the Postal Service, stamp design is an exacting skill with very small dimensions. For the snowboarding stamp, design groups chose photos and picked finalists.

Every month Scott Spiker of Spiker Stock Photography advertises with a two-page spread of his photographs in a source book called Direct Stock. The photo of Karvacz taken by Spiker at Big Mountain, Montana, was eventually picked by the design group. Spiker didn’t hear anything until he found out he was a finalist. His image was eventually selected and he couldn’t be happier.

"I think it’s cool," says Spiker, "you always hope something will work out and