THE PHOTOBOOTH BLOG
April 01, 2020

Passing on this sad but not unexpected bit of news from Rafa at Autofoto:

Dear friends,

I hope this email finds you and your loved ones well.

We are living extremely disruptive times and need to follow the scientists advice. So we are taking the inevitable decision of postponing the International Photobooth Convention this June. We can assure you we will be holding a convention in London in the not too distant future—we can’t wait to welcome you to our amazing city!

We’ll announce the exact date when we have all recovered and are ready to celebrate

I hope you all keep safe (and sane).

Let’s keep in touch,

Rafa and the AUTOFOTO team

March 05, 2020

June 12–14, AutoFoto is hosting the 2020 International Photobooth Convention. The event will see photobooth artists, technicians, enthusiasts, and historians from around the world descend on London to enjoy the selection of analogue photobooths available in the Capital.

To accompany the Convention, a number of exhibitions will be held in various venues. Consequently, the event organizers are looking for submissions of artwork made in analogue photobooths since 2010. Artwork can consist of a single strip or multiple strips, but must have been made in an analogue, photochemical photobooth. Works made with mixed media will be accepted, as long as the photobooth strip is featured.

In 2010, Instagram began, and with it, the selfie became a phenomenon. This open call seeks analogue selfies taken in the photobooth, a machine often associated with ID photographs. The machine creates four exposures, one after the other in quick succession, traditionally portraying the head and shoulders shot which has become so integral to identity. But, once the curtain is drawn, this enclosed space allows a freedom of expression. A few of these rare machines still exist, and are being used in creative ways by artists across the world. The event will showcase this work, as well as encourage new work to be made for the purpose of this exhibition.

Submission information:

There is no fee for this submission.
Please submit up to 5 images, 1000 pixels along the longest edge, to ipc20@autofoto.org

Please include where and when the images were made.
Deadline: 1 April 2020

Final Artwork Specification:

Final images must be able to fit in an A3 sized space
Mixed Media is accepted.
Please note selected works may be used for promotional purposes.

February 07, 2020

We’re pleased to report some exciting news: 2020 will see another International Photobooth Convention, this time in London, presented by AUTOFOTO, who manage a network of analog photobooths in the U.K. and Spain.

The Convention will be held Friday to Sunday, June 12–14, 2020, in London. As usual, the title is a bit tongue‐in‐cheek, but the event will be a relaxed get‐together of people who love analog photobooths, featuring talks, screenings, art projects, and a London photobooth tour. The organizers ask those who plan on attending to RSVP via email.

This announcement is also a good opportunity to report on the last of my 2019 European photobooth visits, back in October. I met Rafa and Marco of AUTOFOTO at the Hoxton Hotel, where we hung out, talked photobooths, brainstormed about the convention, and took some photos in the booth in the hotel’s lobby.

I also stopped by their booth at Mercato Metroplitano, another nice booth in a great location. I was pleased to see a reinvigorated photobooth scene in London, especially after bearing witness to the death of the old photochemical establishment era in shops and post offices back in 2004.



I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting other like‐minded photobooth lovers in London in June, and hope to see some of our readers there.

October 27, 2019

A quick trip to New York this weekend afforded the opportunity to check in on a few of the city’s working photochemical booths. First, I hadn’t yet had a chance to visit the booth at The Folly on Houston, though we’d had the booth listed here since last year. It was nice and quiet on a beautiful Saturday at mid‐day, which meant that I wasn’t turned away for trying to bring a six‐year‐old into a bar, even if it was just to use the booth. The machine is working fine, and turned out a nice, if slightly grimy strip.

Our next stop was The Whitney Museum, where we’d visited last year to check out the Warhol exhibition. The photobooth installed to coincide with the exhibition was still there, even after the exhibition closed, which was a pleasant surprise. I’ve created a new entry for the machine, not because it’s a new machine, but because it’s got a brand‐new appearance, and because it seemed necessary to note the booth’s claim to fame as having the highest‐priced photostrip of any machine I’ve ever seen. A whopping $10 gets you “Whitney Souvenir Folio” specially designed to house the photostrip, revealing each photo in its own window (and allowing the fourth photo to show through the front cover), but still, in a world where the $1 photobooth is still a thing, it’s hard to imagine spending $10 on a strip more than once.

I balked when I saw the price initially, but of course had to take a strip just because, and I was pleasantly surprised by the folio. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen an add‐on accessory for a photostrip offered at the point of purchase, so to speak, and though it takes the strip about as far from its usual status as an everyday, sometimes frivolous keepsake as you can imagine, I didn’t dislike it as much as I initially thought. It’s a nice idea, very well executed.

This morning, we had a chance to check in on booth at the Ace Hotel, and besides noting a price increase (now $6, plus tax, for a total of $6.54, which might be the highest‐priced accessory‐less strip around; New York prices!), I also was very impressed by the quality of the photos. Definitely the best of the weekend, and maybe some of the best I’ve seen from a public booth in a long time. Well done! And even though New York is no longer the photobooth mecca it was when we started this site nearly fifteen years ago, it still has at least a few nice booths in some great locations.

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!