I don’t know exactly when Blackpool got its photomaton, but this photo dates to the days when it was still “New.” The girl in the photo is wearing a pin in the shape of the Blackpool Tower on her coat, and has a somewhat mysterious half-smile on her face. At least I think it’s a girl; the hair, for that era, seems long for a boy’s, and the scarf under the coat…but who knows.
We say goodbye this week to a few Utah photobooth locations: two different contributors emailed this week letting us know that the veritable bonanza of Utah Kmarts with photochemical photobooths was too good to last. Booths at the Kmarts in Salt Lake City, West Jordan, and Draper are now gone. Thanks to Kylie and Steph for the updates.
We also say goodbye to our old hosting provider this week, and hello to a new one. Hopefully, our readers won’t see anything but a more responsive and reliable site; on our end, things are already miles better.
One more new addition: the appetite for poorly-faked photostrips on TV seems unsated, and this week we bring you a pseudo-strip from an October, 2009 episode of Desperate Housewives (who knew that show was still on?).
Our friend Marco in Italy has been sending us news and info from Italy over the past few years, and we’ve finally had time to track down three films he let us know about. Two are 1980s Italian films with extensive photobooth sequences, and one is a Kevin Costner film with a fake photostrip in it, but we’re happy to have them all. Thanks, Marco.
First, Cosi parlo Bellavista, in which a Naples man is directed in how to pose for his photobooth photos.
Second, Al bar dello sport, in which a winning lottery ticket goes missing but is spotted in a photobooth.
And finally, Message in a Bottle, where we see a photostrip of Kevin Costner amongst the detritus of his life.
We are always grateful to our readers who submit their finds to us; please drop us a line if you come across something we don’t have listed on the site.
I just returned from a brief visit to Europe where photobooths still abound in all the usual places (post offices, train and subway stations, arcades.) However, I am sad to report that 99% of the booths I encountered were digital. London was the one exception, and two of the photobooths there were the highlight of my trip.
The past year has seen the re-emergence of chemical photobooths in The Big Smoke thanks to the industrious efforts of two independent outfits: Photomovette and Photoautomat. As luck would have it, I hit the city at the perfect time to see activity from both companies. October 31st marked the closing of Photoautomat’s show at Cargo; the following evening Photomovette was hosting an opening party for their booth. I spent the morning of the 31st hanging out at Cargo, chatting with Alex and taking in the show.
Following a quick lunch of steak & ale pie and mashy peas (in case you were wondering), I met up with Carole and Siobhan, the women of Photomovette. I proved not very helpful in resolving a few of their remaining booth idiosyncrasies, but they were gracious hosts nonetheless. They were busy putting the final touches on their booth and organizing the venue for their party the following evening.
After parting company, I headed for the Tube to make my way back to my West London lodging. The subway ride was notable for two reasons: 1) I happened to sit beneath an ad adorned with a fake photostrip and 2) it occurred to me I had inadvertently slated my travel for Halloween. If you’ve never experienced it, trust me when I tell you it is slightly disorienting to experience a new place on Halloween. It certainly left me wondering if London Tube traffic was always as colorful, or if it had something to do with the holiday. See for yourself:
For those of you who missed either of the above-mentioned festivities, fret not, more opportunity awaits you. Alex’s booth remains at Cargo, and is outside in the beer garden. Feel free to stop by anytime. As for Carole and Siobhan, they are hosting another photobooth party on the 13th of December.
We’ve been sitting on quite a few new photobooth items recently, just looking for a moment to post them. Now, with a little time this holiday weekend, we’re posting a few at a time. First, a brief faked photostrip in an episode of the original UK Life on Mars, in which Chris shows Sam some photos of him with his girlfriend, at the end of a tension-filled episode.
Next, we see an extended photobooth sequence from a 1951 flashback in an episode of Cold Case which originally aired last October. Thanks to Marco for letting us know about this one.
Another tip, this one from Klaas, led us to an episode from the first season of Burn Notice, from July, 2007. We’ve never seen someone slap another person in the face with a photostrip to jog their memory, but I guess it works…
Finally, we have (at least) the third appearance of a photostrip in the long history of The Simpsons, this one the first in high definition in the show’s 20th season (the other two are here and here). In this episode, both Marge and Homer and Moe and his girlfriend Maya take photostrips in the arcade photobooth, with varying results.
Contributor Meags Fitzgerald sent us a writeup on an exhibition of the Centre Pompidou in Paris with some interest to the photobooth community.
The Centre Pompidou in Paris currently has an exhibition titled “La Subversion Des Images” or “The Subversion of Images”. It is an exhibition of Surrealist photographs and films. The Surrealists were particularly interested in working with the automatic and the spontaneous, so naturally they used the newly invented Photomaton in their artwork. The 1929 issues of “Variétés” and “La Revolution Surréaliste” (Surrealist publications) featured several photobooth pictures of members of the Surrealist movement, the exhibition features dozens of these original photobooth strips. It also has Rene Magritte’s famous “Je ne vois pas (la femme) cachée dans la fôret”, which features 16 photobooth pictures of the most well known Surrealists. The “Subversion of Images” includes strips taken by Andre Breton, Salivador Dali and many others. It is extremely well curated and is worth a visit if you are in the area. The exhibit opened September 23 and runs until January 11, 2010.
No photographs were allowed in the exhibition, this is a photo of one of the exhibit’s publications.
Henry Ford is the man who brought us assembly lines and mass production (among other innovations). As a result, he seems like the kind of person who would have been fascinated with the photobooth: a self-contained photo developing assembly line used to mass produce snapshots. It is only fitting, then, that the Henry Ford Museum just put a collection of 80 photobooth photos on Flickr.
A few of the photo groupings seem to be from the same strip or of the same subject, which is always interesting to see. Additionally, Suzanne Fischer of the Museum’s staff has posted an entry in the museum’s blog about the photobooth photos.
Mr. Ford passed away in 1947 which would mean the last 20 years of his life were lived in a world with photobooths. I wonder if there are any photostrips of him?
A brief blurb on this collection went out via the Associated Press today.
A few weeks ago, Tim and I were, by chance, both in New York City at the same time and were lucky enough to enjoy a look around the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition of new photography acquisitions with Leslie Ureña and Lee Ann Daffner of the museum’s photography department.
As we walked through the galleries, we headed directly for the reason we were there: a case containing forty-four Photomatic photographs of a woman, taken over a relatively brief span of time.
The photographs are remarkably unvaried: no one else, save a tiny sliver of a child’s arm and head in one photo, ever shares the frame with the woman. The frames are both metal and paper, with a few varieties of each type represented, and the photos are, for the most part, in good shape.
I’m curious to see if any of the photos feature interesting markings on the back, but that will have to wait until the exhibition is taken down. The photos are great to see up close, and the rest of the show, including a terrific batch of photos by Richard Avedon, is open through March, 2010, and is well worth seeing.
We’re grateful to Leslie, Lee Ann, and Sarah Meister, as well, for setting up our little meeting. We’re always encouraged when we see photobooth photos in a museum setting, and to see their significance and their narrative power taken seriously in the grand scheme of the history of photography.
The European photobooth scene really heating up after some lean years there in the early 2000s… In addition to the projects we’ve mentioned recently in Berlin, the gang from Photoautomat in London are hosting a show of photobooth photos in the month of October:
Photoautomat and the Arch1 gallery space at Cargo are pleased to invite you to the opening of the new exhibition:
The exhibition is a collection of portraits taken in an old analogue photo booth situated in Cargo’s beer garden.
The opening night is on 5th October– we will be offering a free drink to everyone that arrives at 7pm (subject to availability)
“We at Photoautomat believe that life is what happens outside of our portable electronic devices. Our analogue photo booths breathe life back into everyday photography and we hope they’ll inspire your imagination as much as they do ours.”
For more information, visit their website.