As a way of catching up with blog-worthy material from the recent past, I’ll be posting some notes about articles and mentions that are worth noting but aren’t the newest of the new. The most useful and well-written article from a major paper in the past year is Rob Elder’s May 25, 2004 piece from the Chicago Tribune, “The strange allure of photo booths,” still available online. Elder provides an in-depth look at the history of photobooths, looks into the relationship between traditional booths and digital machines, and goes on a pub crawl with Photo-Me’s Gary Gulley. Also included are words from Nakki Goranin and the felicitously named James Photopoulos of Photo’s Hot Dogs, longtime home to a photobooth in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.
A true photobooth devotee, Elder combines his personal experiences and thoughts about photobooths with historical background and interviews. He captures the attraction many people have with booths in one of his opening paragraphs: “For me, finding a photo booth is like discovering a chocolate egg long after Easter has ended. They’re often stashed away in the forgotten corners of America, in the dusty backroom of bars or lost in aging arcades.”
In addition to the excellent article, Elder includes three photo galleries and a lengthy list of Chicago-area photobooths, which I put to use in my October, 2004 visit to the city.