This weekend’s trip to Pittsburgh yielded a photobooth, photobooth art, photobooth as publicity, and a photobooth photo as official street signage. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I visited the Warhol Museum, home to an excellent Auto-Photo Model 14C in the basement.
The booth, nestled under the stairs at the far end of the lower level, provides nice, crisp, high-contrast photos, with a very white background. Both sides are open, and the booth is set a foot or so away from the wall, allowing for a little room on the far side for a number of people to gather in the booth at one time; our record for identifiable people was six in one shot. Across the hall from the booth is a marker denoting the high-water mark during a recent flood; apparently, the booth was damaged but the Warhol either repaired it or got a new (old) one. I’d love to hear the full story.
On the first floor, I enjoyed three works by Warhol that began as photobooth photos: silkscreened portraits of Ethel Scull (1963), Judith Green (1963–64), and Bobby Short (1963):
After viewing the museum’s seven fascinating floors, I headed down to the basement to use the photobooth, and checked out the “Weekend Factory,” described on the Warhol’s website as a “lively studio program where museum visitors can create art while exploring Andy Warhol’s artistic practice.” I took the photostrip I’d just taken, photocopied it, took some highlighters to it, and made a Pop button out of it for a mere 50 cents. What a bargain!
While I was in the “Factory,” I also spotted the Warhol’s Education Programs pamphlet, which features eight photostrips on the front and back cover. Very nice.
As I headed out Sandusky Street and over the 7th Street Bridge to get a view of the skyline and ballparks, I noticed that the bridge had been officially re-named the Andy Warhol Bridge, complete with colorful signs taken from his photobooth self-portraits. I’d venture that this is the only example of a photobooth photo used in an official city sign. But I’d be happy to hear otherwise. With such a ripe climate, all I need is to find some more photobooths in the Pittsburgh area. This can’t be the only one.