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.