More than two years ago, we mentioned a recent book by the photobooth artist Jan Wenzel titled Fotofix. I didn’t yet have a copy of the book, but promised a review as soon as I got ahold of one. Well, the book came quickly, but the review, obviously, did not.
Better late than never, I say, and don’t let our tardiness in getting to the book encourage you to do the same; Fotofix is a phenomenal collection of some of the most awe-inspiring photobooth art you’ll ever see. Wenzel takes the familiar confines of the photobooth and slowly explodes them with a series of images made up of four or five (or more) photostrips laid next to one another. From the first image, a dresser floating on a green background in five photostrips, through to an entire room rendered in eight parallel photostrips, the reader is left in awe of Wenzel’s absolute control over the space a photobooth affords, and his creativity and ingenuity in conceiving and executing his constructions.
In an excellent essay that opens the book, titled “From the Garbage into the Booth — Or: Instant Pictures of Topsyturvy Everyday Life,” Wenzel tells of how photobooths first came to East Germany after the fall of the wall and the reunification of Germany. The machines got an unprecedented amount of use because “just about everyone needed new photos for passports and I.D. cards, while those who had already been made redundant by the first summer after German Reunification needed pictures for their job-application forms.”
The book is really a must for any photobooth enthusiast; it’s difficult to express the sense of incredulity you get looking through some of the images Wenzel has created, and the work is a testament to the versatility and power of the photobooth. The book is widely available through online booksellers, and is well worth checking out.