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Photobooth.net
THE PHOTOBOOTH BLOG
October 15, 2019

We’re a little late to this, but we wanted to bring your attention to reporter Julia Caron’s story on Canadian photobooths, produced for CBC Quebec earlier this year. The story was presented on the radio, titled The Last Photobooth in Quebec,” as well as in a web version, “iPhones Killed the Photobooth.” There’s also a minute‐long video version on Facebook. All of the versions feature friends of the site Meags Fitzgerald, who acts as Caron’s guide through the stories and locations of Montreal’s legendary photobooths, and Jeff Grostern, who provides background on the history of his family business, Auto‐Photo Canada. Thanks to Julia for letting us know about the story.



Photostrips of Julia Caron with Amber Dearest, Meags Fitzgerald and Jeff Grostern, in the Place‐des‐Arts booth in the Montreal Metro.

September 24, 2019



We learned of the legendary (and plentiful) outdoor photobooths of Berlin right around the time we started Photobooth.net, and a visit—a pilgrimage—has been a long time coming. I hadn’t been to Germany in nearly 30 years, and had never been to Berlin, before a family trip the summer. As much as I had heard about Berlin in general and its photobooths in particular, our experiences more than lived up to the hype.

Before arriving in Berlin, we spent some time in southern and western Germany, and passed through Köln, where we found our first booth, on Ebertplatz. As we arrived, a van was parked right in front of the booth, and for a second, I thought maybe we’d hit the jackpot and stumbled upon the technician on rounds, but alas, the van was just resupplying a food stand next to the booth. We squeezed past it and hopped in the booth for a strip of photos (and a van‐enforced off‐center photo of the booth).

As we reached Berlin, I had no illusions of returning to the days of the great “Chicago Marathon” of 2005, where I hit more than 20 photobooths in one night, but I hoped to find as many of Berlin’s 20+ booths as I could convincingly squeeze into our otherwise museum‐ and playground‐filled itinerary, without too many out‐of‐the‐way walks. I had flashbacks to a rainy walk to Sainsbury’s or a disappointed trip to the Queensway Post Office in London, and imagined those fruitless trips with kids in tow. Luckily, those fears were never realized, as every booth we visited in Berlin was in great working order, a tribute to the diligence and skill of Ole and Asger and the Photoautomat.de technicians.

We spent eight days in Berlin, and managed to stop by eleven different booths, which, factoring in an adjustment for old age, seemed to me a pretty decent showing. We found booths indoors and outdoors, singly and in pairs, delivering photos on glossy paper and matte, arranged horizontally and vertically, and we enjoyed every one.

Our second day in Berlin, I set out to find my first booth, one I had heard about in front of C/O Berlin, a photography gallery. When I arrived, it was apparent that this booth, with the Martin Balke‐design horizontal square photos, was a popular spot, with a small crowd of people waiting outside for their photos to be delivered.

As I waited to take my photos, I noticed that a woman waiting to pick up her strip had a typical vertical strip in her hand. I asked her where she’d taken those photos, as they obviously weren’t from this machine, and she explained that there was another booth inside, in the lower level of the museum. I flashed back to my “can I just pop in to see the booth and avoid the cover charge?” days, and was grateful to the kind staff at the C/O who let me zip downstairs to try out the booth, which had a beautiful exploded diagram of the photobooth transmission on the outside.

We had similarly good luck the rest of the trip, finding booths on the street, in front of empty lots, inside a planetarium, and even side‐by‐side, one color and one black and white.



It’s clear that the photobooths that Ole and Asger and Photoautomat.de have placed around the city and lovingly maintained for more than 15 years have become an integral part of the fabric of the city. You see them in postcards and murals, featured in advertisements, and even ripped off by pale digital imitators. It was a joy to finally get to see them for myself, and I was happy to add eight new booths to our locator in Berlin (plus one in Köln). There were many booths we didn’t get to visit, so we encourage anyone living there or planning a trip to send in more updates so we can keep our locator current.

Photobooths of Berlin, Hoch soll’n sie leben!

September 21, 2019



We heard the sad news yesterday that photobooth artist, Super 8 filmmaker, and gentle soul (and much more) Herman Costa passed away on September 17. Herman was the first artist we added to the Art section of the site back in April of 2005, in honor of his position as the cover artist of the catalog for the 1987 “Photomaton” art show in Rochester, New York (A Portrait of Neil Gordon, 1986).



When we put on a 25th anniversary edition of the show and reprinted the catalog with updates on all the artists, Herman was not only eager to participate, but he connected me with Linda Duchin, who, along with the late Bern Boyle, put the original show together. Herman’s help was invaluable in making the anniversary edition a success. He was excited to tell, as he put it, “The Full Story of Herman Costa Goes to the Photobooth,” and we printed most of his text in the 2012 edition of the catalog, with a few new photobooth images he’d made since, including this terrific one, Self‐Portrait as Matisse in Morocco (1992).

On a personal note, I crossed paths with Herman in my other life as a film preservationist, and just this week finished work on a 1975 film he appeared in, Screentest, directed by our mutual friends Frank and Caroline Mouris. Photostrips can be seen decorating the walls of his apartment, and anyone who has seen his photobooth work will recognize his mischievous personality in the film.





Screentest (Dir. Frank and Caroline Mouris, 1975)

I wish I’d had a chance to show him the newly restored version, in which his scenes of roller skating on the Coney Island boardwalk in winter, and “licking” his mustache off (thanks to Frank’s stop‐motion photography) look better than ever. We’ll miss you, Herman.

June 17, 2019

My multi‐year European photobooth safari continued this month with a visit to Vienna, where I was presenting at a conference. While I was there, I checked out two working photochemical machines, and hung out with Georg from Fotoautomat Wien.

Of all of the conversations I’ve had with European booth operators over the past four years, this one was in perhaps the most picturesque spot yet; after taking a few strips in the machine he maintains in the lobby of the 25hours Hotel, we headed up to the rooftop bar, with its magnificent view of the Vienna skyline by night.

The bar is also home to one of Georg’s digital machines, and both booths seemed well loved and popular. We talked about the same sort of questions everyone seems to be dealing with—maintenance costs, users’ awareness (or lack thereof) or analog vs. digital technologies, and the future of these machines. Thanks, Georg!

I only had time to visit one other booth during my brief trip, the machine run by Photoautomat.de located in the main court of Museumsquartier, outside in front of mumok.

The booth was in use when I arrived, and due to its particular coinage requirements (2 euros and 50 cents coins only), I headed to the museum bookshop nearby to buy a book (twist my arm) and get some change before taking my photos. They turned out well, though my attempt to capture my conference program and badge didn’t work, succumbing to the strong flash, as usual.

Next up is Berlin in August, where I plan to squeeze some family vacation in between hitting as many of the city’s famed photobooths as I can, so check back in a few months to see how well we did.

April 20, 2019



For the fourth year in a row, I’ve been lucky enough to travel outside the U.S., mostly for work, to a country with a homegrown photobooth scene, and have been able to check in with the enterprising person or people behind the ongoing existence of analog photobooths in their country (see 2016: Italy and the Netherlands; 2017: France and Czech Republic; and 2018: Canada). This streak continued earlier this month with a visit to Zürich and Lausanne, Switzerland. Last time I was in Lausanne for the “Derrière le rideau” art show in 2012, I found a lone booth in Zürich and a temporary machine at the museum in Lausanne where the photobooth exhibition was held.

Seven years later, I’m happy to be able to report that the solitary booth in Zürich—which, for my money, produces the most beautiful photobooth photos I’ve ever seen—is still in operation, and is now joined by two new photochemical machines in lovely working order. And that temporary booth in Lausanne has remained long after the show closed, and is now a staple at the museum cafe where has resided ever since opening night, February 16, 2012.

I arrived in Zürich on the morning of April 3, and my first stop after checking into my hotel was the familiar address of Goldbrunnenstraße 128, outside the home of the machine’s co‐inventor, Martin Balke. The machine is still in great shape, with only a few more stickers applied to the top sign indicating that time had passed since I was last there. I later learned that the machine may be in its last year at this location, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it doesn’t leave Zürich altogether.

After taking as many 2 franc photos as I could manage with the change I’d gotten from from ViCAFE down the street (thanks!), I bid farewell to the machine and headed out on the rest of my day.

That evening, I met Patrick, who runs two photobooths in town, at his machine outside the Helsinki Club, at Geroldstr. 31.

We had a great conversation about how he got started, the sort of experiences he’s had with the booth, his plans for the future, and so on, and took a strip in the machine. He was kind enough to then drive me across to his second booth, a machine we didn’t know about, located outside Kosmos, a new cinema, restaurant, and bar.

We took another strip in that machine, looked at its immaculate inner workings, and talked about the vagaries of photobooth locations, vandalism (not a real problem in Switzerland), photobooth supplies, and potential new locations around town.

Patrick sent me on my way with a great restaurant recommendation, and a promise to keep me posted on further Zürich locations to come.

By Friday, I had made my way down to Lausanne, where my conference was being held, and I stopped in at the Musée de l’Elysée, where I had last been seven years ago. I had recently been in touch with Yannick, who takes care of the booth there, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was still up and running, long after the show that brought it there had moved on.

When I arrived, I found out that Yannick was away for the week—my fault for not getting in touch earlier—and that, sadly, the machine was out of order. I asked Sebastien, the nice guy who was entertaining my inquiries, if I might take a peek inside, and he was happy to oblige. I cleared a jam in the feed down unit, fiddled with the transmission a bit, and bingo! it was back to life. The machine was already in great shape, so it was easy to troubleshoot, but making a quick fix certainly made me look more skilled than I actually am. I took some strips, including one with Sebastien, and reminisced about the great time I’d had at the show in 2012, while also learning about Platforme 10, the new multi‐institutional space that will become the museum’s home next year. Sebastien assured me the photobooth would be making the move with the museum.

It was a real pleasure meeting Patrick, and despite my missed connection with Yannick, I felt like we met up if only through a few jammed strips in the machine and a cache of his test strips I spied on the top of the booth. Next time! And the year is not up yet—before the end of 2019, I hope to stop by the booths in Vienna and finally make a pilgrimage to the epicenter of the European photobooth scene, Berlin.

February 12, 2019



Thanks to a tip from longtime friend of the site Stephanie back in December, we found about a photochemical booth located in the museum shop at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The booth was brought in to coincide with and help visitors celebrate the exhibition Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again, which opened November 12, 2018, and runs through March 31, 2019.





We had a chance to visit ourselves this past weekend, and not only was the booth working (and quite popular), but of course the exhibition itself is full of wonderful photobooth‐based pieces, including some rare gems we’d not had a chance to see before.

In addition to the photobooth itself, the museum shop offered a number of photobooth‐related items for sale, from a postcard reproduction of “Ethel Scull 36 Times”, on the more affordable side, to an empty aluminum can of Kirin beer with a reproduction of Warhol’s 1964 “Self‐Portrait” on it ($388). The USPS’s 2002 Warhol postage stamp was also for sale in a few varieties, singly in a lucite box or in a sheet of ten (though they seem torn from their original presentation sheet). If you’re in the area or are planning a visit to New York in the net few weeks, we encourage you to go see the show and take some photos in the booth!

January 26, 2019

We begin our fifteenth (!) year of keeping track of all things photobooth with a major update of posts on photobooths in moving images. Over the last few years we’ve let discoveries and contributions in the realms of movies, TV shows, commercials, and music videos collect on our to‐do list, and today, we’re glad to finally present more than a dozen instances, from the surprisingly major to the completely minor.

Thanks to all our wonderful contributors for sending in links, tips, and screen grabs over the years.



The Glass Wall
, directed by Maxwell Shane (1953)



It’s Always Fair Weather
, directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen (1955)



Your Three Minutes Are Up
, directed by Douglas Schwartz (1973)



Falsche Bewegung
, directed by Wim Wenders (1975)



Repeater
, directed by Christopher Monger (1979)



, directed by Robert Lepage (1998)





Same Same But Different
, directed by Detlev Buck (2009)





Bande de filles
, directed by Céline Sciamma (2014)



December 7th
, directed by John Ford and Gregg Toland (1943)

In addition to films, we’ve also added a number of television shows, music videos, and commercials. Click the intriguing images below to see more from each of these photobooth‐friendly creations.

















Brian | 7:32 pm | Movies, Music, TV
December 08, 2018

As we come to the end of 2018, I’ve undertaken one of my periodic mass updates, in which I finally get to some of the contributions I’ve received over the last six months or so that I never had a chance to do anything with. We’re eternally grateful to our lovely contributors, and I’m only sorry I can’t get to these in a more timely manner these days. These are only there of many I’ve received; hopefully I’ll get to the rest sooner rather than later.

So, today I can report a few new locations. First, a new booth location at a shop in Toledo, Ohio. Second, a temporary booth at the Whitney Museum of American Art, to appropriately accompany an exhibition about the work of Andy Warhol. And finally, the much‐delayed addition of an entry for the booth at the Museé de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland. The machine has been there since the wonderful “Derrière le rideau” exhibition back in 2012, but I’d never added it to the directory. Thanks to Maura, Stephanie, and Yannick for their contributions.

The booth at Jupmode is a BW machine located in the conference room off this screenprinting and embroidering shop in Toledo, Ohio. Thanks to Maura for the info and photos of her and her husband’s new machine.

At the Whitney Museum, a major Andy Warhol exhibition will be on through March, 2019. A photochemical booth is available for visitors to use in the museum store. Thanks, Stephanie!

And finally I’d like to thanks Yannick at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne for sending in a current photo and sample strip from black and white machine that was brought by Anthony Vizzari to the museum on the occasion of the exhibition “Derrière le rideau — L’Esthétique Photomaton” back in February, 2012. The booth has been providing joy to visitors ever since, and perhaps we can hope that the Whitney will follow Elysée’s lead!

August 11, 2018



It’s been awhile since we’ve posted on the blog, but rest assured, behind the scenes we’ve been adding (and, sadly, subtracting) locations in the photobooth directory, thanks to you, our unflagging readers, and have been noting various films and other examples of booths in popular culture.

Earlier this month, we made a family pilgrimage to Auto Photo in Montreal, catching up with Jeff and George, talking photobooths, and taking some photos, of course!



Jeff was kind enough to set up one of the few remaining color photobooths in their inventory, which was a real treat. As the kids took photos, he and I talked about the general decline in commercially placed booths (in malls and metro stations) and the surprising trickle of business remaining in selling booths and parts to smaller scale ventures, like the local entrepreneurs around the U.S. and Europe who import Canadian booths for placement in bars and restaurants.

Though photobooths in shopping centers and metro stations is in steep decline, there is some solace in the idea that quality Canadian craftsmanship is now giving people photobooth joy all around the world.



Thanks to a tip from Meags, I also visited a completely unique color photobooth at North Star Pinball, a bar in Montreal. Not only are there very few photochemical booths outside malls and metro stations in Canada — we have only three listed, all in Vancouver — but this particular booth is equipped with special‐width paper (once used in consulates) and a modified camera, turning out square color photos. After decades of photoboothing in all kinds of machines around the world, there is something quite striking and almost unbelievable about seeing these square photos.

If you’re in Montreal or are planning a visit, stop by and take some photos before the paper is all gone.





November 18, 2017

Another trip, another chance to check in on one of our far‐flung photobooth correspondents, this time Alexander Spevak of Fotoautomat in Prague. It’s beginning to look from the blog at least that the center of the photobooth world has at some point shifted to Europe, with the most recent convention in England and my last four posts now taking stock of the booths and their caretakers in Italy, Netherlands, France, and now the Czech Republic.

Rock Cafe Photobooth, Prague

I met Alexander at the Rock Café on Národní in the center of town, and we took a few strips, and talked to a couple that came in to take some of their own. The booth is well maintained and obviously popular, and turns out a nice set of photos. Alexander and I discussed the customary topics—paper, chemicals, problems with vandalism—and also how they might work to find a location for their second booth. Even as Prague may seem a perfect town for photobooths, it can still prove difficult to find a location with the right combination of young people and tourists who also care about the difference between photochemical and digital.

Rock Cafe Photobooth, Prague

It’s always great to meet in person someone you’ve corresponded with about this mutual interest over the years, and I hope when I head back to Prague in April, maybe there will be another booth to see out and about. Thanks, Alexander!