November 30, 2008

A weekend visit to San Diego was a bit of a disappointment in terms of functioning photochemical photobooths out in the wild, but it wasn’t a complete loss. First, the bad news: the photobooth at the Corvette Diner has indeed been replaced with a digital booth, and the photobooths at the Waterfront, U 31 and the Ruby Room are all digital. The two photobooths at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park are still there, but both were out of order during my visit. The photobooth at the Beauty Bar is also no longer there, which leaves a pretty poor verdict for real photobooths in San Diego. If anyone knows of any we’ve missed, please let us know; we’d love to hear some good news.


The saving grace of our visit was a chance to see photographer Tim Mantoani’s beautiful Model 9 photobooth, which lives in his San Diego studio and is occasionally used for photo shoots and parties.


Tim was kind enough to take time out of his holiday weekend to meet me and let me have a look at the booth — it’s a real beauty, in great working order, and is complete with the top sign, two different sets of advertising inserts for the wraparounds, and the operating manuals.


We first came across Tim’s work in early 2005, when we noted his photobooth-like photoshoot for the 2005 Pro Bowl in Sports Illustrated. We’ve been in touch since, and were happy to have the opportunity to see his photobooth in person. Thanks again, Tim.


We’ve also made a few new additions to our Movies & TV section:

First, filling in a gap in the decades for the 1950s (we now have booth appearances in every decade from the 1920s to the present, save the 1930s…and I know there’s got to be a ’30s musical with a booth out there somewhere…), we’ve got Vincente Minnelli’s The Band Wagon, starring Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, and, briefly, a Photomatic photobooth.

Gus Van Sant is in the news thanks to his recent release Milk, Nicole Kidman for her turn in Australia, and Joaquin Phoenix for vowing to be done with acting; once upon a time, they were all working together, in a photobooth, in To Die For.

Further back, we added scenes from a Swedish ski vacation comedy, Snowroller, a Hong Kong shoot-’em-up called Fong juk, Robert Altman’s classic interpretation of the Philip Marlowe story The Long Goodbye, and Agnes Varda’s gritty story of a roaming vagabond, Sans toit ni loi. Four more different films it would be challenging to find, but they all share a photobooth in common.

On the television front, we’ve also had some recent additions: first, some TV shows that feature pseudo-photostrips in their opening credit sequences, The Ex List and ‘Til Death.

Thanks to Klaas, we also added an old episode of the now-defunct Charmed, and thanks to Stephanie, a first-season episode of Pushing Daisies. Another new TV season also seems to always bring a photostrip appearance in a pilot episode; this year it’s The Mentalist.

Comments are closed.