March 03, 2005

I had lunch with my friend Nate, whose absent brother has a subscription to Sports Illustrated (notice how I try to separate myself from this magazine). We located the Swimsuit Issue and I carefully removed the photobooth pages for my growing file. Two things of interest: (1) the photobooth used to take the pictures is in need of some attention — pictures are muddy and out of focus signaling time for a chemical change, and (2) a few of the photographs are faked! A pic by pic dissection:


Page 22
These three look legit. However, the first one (Ana Beatriz Barros) seems like it was taken at a different time. Much whiter whites, blacker blacks.


Page 24

Legit. Yamila Diaz-Rahi’s strip looks like it was pieced together from a few different sittings. (irregular border) [It is probably not a great idea to use “Yamila Diaz-Rahi” and “strip” in the same post — could unwittingly drive mega-traffic to this site]


Page 26

The Michelle Alves series seems also pasted together from a few different settings. The border is messed up.


Page 28

These all look like they were taken in a booth, but Michelle Lombardo’s strip looks like it originated in a digital machine, while the others look like good old photochemical.


Page 30

Jessica Van Der Steen’s is most definitely fake. Too bright, too close, too clear. Can you say “glamour shots”?


Last page of magazine

These photos obviously did not come from a photobooth, but the distinctive photobooth black frame was used for continuity.


  1. 1

    This is the kind of hard-hitting commentary I have come to expect from you, Tim. All kidding aside, I’m once again glad there’s finally a home for all of this stuff. Keep it coming…

  2. 2

    I was afraid I might get outed for the commentary. 🙂 I do find it fascinating however — this faux photobooth trend reminds me of when my brothers and I used to take the little alligator emblem off our old Izod shirts and have my mom sew them on newer (less expensive) shirts. To what ailment does this point… some bizarre cultural insecurity? On the positive side, it is clearly not important for some of these publications that the pictures be taken in the photobooth, but rather represent the experience of the photobooth. To me, this adds a little weight to what we are doing — the photobooth isn’t just an historic artifact, but seems to have reached iconographic status. (Brian, I anxiously await your essay entitled “Photobooth, Princess of Postmodernity: Sign, Signifier, Signified in four poses”)