We continue Photomaton Week here at Photobooth.net (don’t worry, it’s unofficial, you didn’t miss the announcement) with a spectacular trove of French photographic history. Thanks to a Google Alert pointing out a post on Dinosaurs and Robots, we found this group of photos that fits right in with the renaissance (nice) of the Parisian photobooth: an amazing set of more than 150 photobooth shots from the 1930s — 1950s, all featuring the friendly face of Willy Michel, Photomaton’s man in Paris during that time.
Titled “Aux origines du Photomaton,” the set of photos features faces that will be familiar to fans of the films of Melville, Clouzot, and Renoir, as well as some other recognizable faces, including a young Errol Flynn, Bing Crosby, Erich von Stroheim (wow!) and Arthur Rubenstein. Almost more fascinating than the faces of the actors are the faces of Michel, sometimes eerily consistent from photo to photo, but also greatly changed over the decades the photos were taken. It’s worth the time it takes to flip through all of these priceless photos, each a testament to the enduring power of the photobooth to capture a genuine, spontaneous moment in time.
Willy Michel and Charles Boyer from Aux origines du Photomaton.
It’s safe to say that for many of our younger readers, the 2001 film Amélie is one of the first things that comes to mind when they think of photobooths, or at least provides one of the strongest associations they have with photobooths, living as we do in a time that is somewhere on the downhill side of the “golden age” of the photochemical photobooth.
The thought that as the film was being released, photochemical photobooths had completely disappeared from Metro stations and street corners in Paris, seemed like a cruel irony indeed: the film captured a moment in time that no longer existed. But thanks to Ole, Dorothée, Eddy, and everyone else at Photoautomat, Paris is once again home to a black and white, photochemical photobooth.
The photobooth, located at the Palais de Tokyo along the Seine, has been in place since late 2007, and is now listed in our directory.
They’ve recently installed another photobooth in Paris, at the Point Ephemere, which we’ll list as soon as we get the photos.
Perhaps it’s time to start an “Outdoor Advertising” section here on Photobooth.net. More and more TV shows are using photobooth-themed ads on buildings, buses, and so on, including the Ellen Degeneres Show, advertised on the side of a Warner Bros. studio building in Burbank, California: