With the issuance of Autumn Colors, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates the radiant beauty of fall with 10 new stamps by renowned nature and garden photographer Allen Rokach (1941-2021). Rokach often used what he called the “Rokach effect,‘‘ a technique that gives photos an impressionistic cast.
The pane of 20 stamps shows a portfolio of brilliant photographs taken in a variety of locations around the United States. In addition to the classic autumn colors of orange, red, and yellow, the photographs show flashes of vermilion, ocher, violet, and cobalt in different landscapes.
There are many beautiful places across the United States to experience the wonders of autumn colors. New England attracts millions of visitors each year because weather conditions provide the optimal environment for the range of intense colors so characteristic of this region. Autumn leaves along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Maryland’s Eastern Shore follow the patterns of their leaf cousins in the northeast, albeit with a later start date in some areas depending on the elevation.
Other places to note spectacular fall colors include Aspen, Colorado, named for the golden aspens that surround this Rocky Mountain town; Taos, New Mexico, and surrounding desert; the Great Smoky Mountains; and the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.
Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps with existing photographs by Allen Rokach.
The Autumn Colors stamps are being issued as Forever® stamps in panes of 20. These Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce price.
Stamp Art Director
Ethel Kessler is an award-winning designer and art director working with corporations, museums, public and private institutions, and professional service organizations. For more than 20 years she has been an art director for the U.S. Postal Service's stamp development program. In 1981, Kessler established Kessler Design, Inc., for which she is creative director and designer. Clients have included the Clinton/Gore White House; the Smithsonian Institution; various art publishers; National Geographic Television; the National Park Service; and the American Institute of Architects. After earning a BFA in Visual Communications from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Kessler worked as a graphic designer for an architectural and planning firm. She then became graphic designer and exhibits project manager for the exhibits division of the United States Information Agency.
Allen Rokach (1942–2021) was a preeminent nature, garden, and travel photographer. His 40-year career included stints as director of photography at the New York Botanical Garden and senior photographer for Southern Living magazine. His work appeared in many prestigious publications including National Geographic, Audubon, Coastal Living, Fine Gardening, Garden Design, Horticulture, and The New York Times.
An active photographic educator throughout his career, Mr. Rokach initiated and coordinated the Certificate Program in Nature and Garden Photography at the New York Botanical Garden and taught photography at numerous institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Biltmore Estate, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Winterthur Museum & Gardens. In 1988, Rokach founded the Center for Nature Photography, which sponsors instructional nature and garden photography workshops.
With his wife, Anne Millman, Rokach co-authored 15 books and articles on aspects of photography, nature, and travel, including Focus on Flowers: Discovery & Photographing Beauty in Gardens & Wild Places (Abbeville Press), which won the 1991 award for photography from the Garden Writers Association of America (now Garden Communications International). His photographs have also been published in many other books.
Rokach’s work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, New York Academy of Sciences, Wave Hill, and the Horticultural Society of New York. Existing photographs by Rokach were featured on the 2020 American Gardens stamp issuance, the 2021 Garden Beauty stamps, and the 2024 Autumn Colors issuance.