December 19, 2011

It’s been a busy few months here at West, so we’ve got a big backlog of additions to the site to present today. 

First, we have listings for three new photobooth locations in New York City:

Next, Nancy Pochis Bank, whom we’ve listed in our Art section, let us know about a new piece of photobooth-based work she’s done, seen here:

Jack Watts, a photography student in the U.K., has sent us a project in which he sought to break all of the rules for passport photos taken in photobooths. We’ve posted the project in our Projects section, and include the photos below.

Les Matons let us know about a video on Dailymotion that captures photobooth portraits taken by a student in Marseille between 1997 and 2001, strung together in sequence to show the changes in her appearance. Check out the video here.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions. 2012 is going to be an exciting year for the photobooth, and we look forward to bringing you more news, projects, and shows from around the world. 

December 18, 2011

The new year is nearly upon us, and it’s just two months to go until the opening of photobooth exhibition at the Musée de l’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland. We mentioned the show here back in September, and in the intervening months, we’ve been working on our contribution to the exhibition, and hearing from others in the community about the show. If you’re a fan of the history and art of the photobooth, it’s safe to say that it would be a good idea to find a way to make it to Switzerland between February and May of next year.

From the museum’s website:

When the first photobooths were set up in Paris in 1928, the Surrealists used them heavily and compulsively. Within minutes, and for a small price, the machine offered them, in the field of portraiture, an experience similar to automatic writing. Since then, generations of artists have been fascinated by the photobooth concept. From Andy Warhol to Arnulf Rainer, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman and Gillian Wearing, many used it to play with their identity, tell stories, or simply create worlds.

The show includes over 300 exhibits and brings together different media — oil paintings, lithographs, edited films /videos and screenings — revealing the extent of the influence of the photobooth within the artistic community.

I’ll be attending the opening, and I look forward to meeting some of the other artists, historians, and enthusiasts who will be in attendance, as well as old friends from the community who will be making the trip from the U.S. and elsewhere in Europe. We will report back on the show for those who aren’t able to make it. Let us know if you’re coming and we’ll make a point of meeting up in snowy Lausanne.

November 12, 2011

We’re sorry to be a little late on this, but if you’re in Paris, you’ve still got one more day to catch it: the Photo-Off Festival is taking place in Paris, and Marc Bellini has a series of photobooth photos on display.

The event is a collaboration with La Joyeuse de Photographie, who provided the photobooth, and La Bellevilloise.

October 20, 2011

Barbara Kent, one of the last living silent film stars, passed away last week at the age of 103. She starred in films directed by William Wyler and Leo McCarey, and acted alongside such screen legends as Greta Garbo, Edward G. Robinson, and Harold Lloyd. One of her lesser-known claims to fame is the fact that she starred in two of the very first films to feature a photobooth, Lonesome (1928) and Welcome Danger (1929).

In both films, the machine takes a single photo which it returns in a small circular frame; in the case of Welcome Danger, the machine isn’t even really a booth, but still features the same technology and returns the same end product. Of course, the film is a Harold Lloyd comedy, so something manages to go wrong in the process…

October 19, 2011

The contributions seem to be flowing rapidly these days, and this week, we’ve got a varied assortment of new material to call your attention to.

First, a few additions to the otherwise neglected Music section. A Spanish band known as Parking Radio has released an album called Photomaton, with a song titled El Photomaton.

And thanks to a tip from Charles, we’ve added the Biz Markie classic “Just a Friend,” with its lyric, “Come to the picture booth/ So I can ask you some questions to see if you’re hundred proof.”

We’ve finally put a few more TV shows from Europe on the site, contributions we received awhile back but have only now managed to gather and present. First, thanks to Caitlin for telling us about a scene from the UK show Primeval:

And second, we’ve added a page for the European news show Metropolis. We mentioned the show a few months ago, and now have a permanent home for it in our TV section.

We also added another gem of a find from Les Matons: an Italian crime film called Escape from Death Row, a Lee Van Cleef vehicle with a great photobooth murder sequence.

Our In Print section has a few new additions as well. First, thanks to Siobhan for sending us scans from the magazine Oh Comely, which featured an interview with the owner of the only photochemical photobooth in Ireland.

Thanks to Kerstin for tipping us off to a new German photography book titled Photomaton: Frauen Männer Kinder, a collection of 500 photobooth photos taken between 1938 and 1945.

And finally, we’ve heard from Ginny Lloyd, the artist behind A Day at the Races, who has a new photobooth project for which she’s accepting contributions. Here are her instructions:

If you want to participate in the next photobooth book, mail in four photobooth style photos with dialogue bubbles documenting a photobooth performance by November 30th, 2011 to: PhotoBooth Book, PO Box 1424, Jupiter, FL 33468.

For quality control, no electronic submissions please — original photobooth or photobooth like photos only — no copies! No returns. Future exhibitions to be announced to participants. Be sure to use the prescribed format: photobooth style image size and include dialog bubbles.

Steps for submission:

  1. Take/make 4 photos of your photobooth performance.

  2. Put this in an envelope — do not email.

  3. On a piece of paper draw dialogue bubbles for talk, think and/or holler. Make sure you indicate which bubble goes with each photo.

  4. Clearly print your text in the bubble(s).

  5. Add the paper to the envelope.

  6. Mail envelope to PO Box 1424, Jupiter, Florida 33468 USA.

October 15, 2011

We’ve been cataloging and collecting appearances of photobooths and photostrips in cinema for more than eight years now. A few years back, we came across two films from very early on in the history of the photobooth (1928’s Lonesome and 1929’s Welcome, Danger), and we’ve got many films from the 1940s onward — with especially strong representation from the last decade or so. But until this week, the 1930s, the first full decade of the photobooth’s existence, has been missing from our list. 

I’ve always been certain that filmmakers in the 1930s would have been eager to feature the fashionable new invention in their films, but films of the 1930s aren’t the easiest to come across, and until now we hadn’t been able to find any examples of the photobooth in that decade.

I knew that The Long Night was a remake of Marcel Carné’s Le jour se lève, but I hadn’t had a chance to see if the photobooth strip in the later film had been inherited from the original. Indeed it was, and we’ve added Le jour se lève to our list.

Last month, we heard from Les Matons that a reference was made to Maurice Tourneur’s film Samson on the French Wikipedia page for Photomaton, and after some searching, we came across a copy of the film. A beautiful, massive Photomaton makes a few appearances during an early party scene in the film, overseen by a well-dressed young attendant.

Brian | 8:09 pm | History, Movies
October 13, 2011

Our week of updates continues with a slew of new TV shows with photobooths and photostrips in them. Most are from the last few years, and they come from the United States, Italy, and the U.K.

First, thanks to Marco for a tip about an Italian series called Romanzo Criminale. A mobster picks up a drop from the underside of a photobooth stool.

Marco also let us know about a British show called  Misfits, in which a character who can rewind time and change what happens sees two versions of the same photostrip.

Next, I want to thank Xiao for tipping us off to a scene in Royal Pains in which Evan (Paulo Costanzo) proposes to Paige (Brooke D’Orsay) in a photobooth.

A recent episode of Zooey Deschanel’s new show New Girl had the cast at a wedding, which naturally featured a photobooth. Several lengthy scenes in the booth were augmented by a number of shots of authentic photostrips from the machine.

The short-lived show Better with You (which I only saw because it was showing on the plane) used a photostrip in a drying slot as a theme for its opening credits and between-scene transitions. 

A scene from a recent episode of Modern Family featured an incidental pair of photostrips next to a mirror in one scene.

A recent episode of Auction Hunters had the guys stumble across an old booth in a storage locker. Read on to see more photos and our thoughts on where the booth really came from. 

And finally, the brilliant Portlandia was almost obligated to feature a photobooth, considering Portland’s recent ascendancy into the upper echelons of photobooth cities in the U.S. They didn’t disappoint, with a booth visible in the lobby of the “Deuce Hotel” in one episode this season.

Thanks again to everyone for sending in your contributions. Keep ’em coming!

Brian | 12:07 am | TV
October 10, 2011

We’ve got a raft of updates to our Movies section from across the spectrum and around the world. The films range from the 1940s to today, and include a documentary, an action film, a film noir, a comedy, an obscure sci-fi film — even a film that hasn’t even been made yet.

We begin with Antoine et Antoinette, a film by French director Jacques Becker, released in 1947. A romantic comedy about a lost lottery ticket, the film tells the story of a typographer, Antoine (Roger Pigaut) and Antoinette (Claire Mafféi), a Photomaton operator in a department store. The film adds another chapter to the still sparsely populated decade of the 1940s in our list.

Home movies and photobooth photos are key sources in the arsenal of the documentary filmmaker. In Julien Temple’s film The Future is Unwritten, we see Joe Strummer of The Clash in some terrific photobooth shots.

Thanks to Charles for letting us know about a brief, tantalizing photobooth appearance in the Don Siegel late noir The Lineup. This 1958 film has a claim to fame as the only feature film shot in the fully-built Sutro Baths in San Francisco. The baths had been converted to a skating rink by that time. We see Dancer (Eli Wallach) enter “Sutro’s” and walk past a number of great arcade attractions, including two beautiful Model 11 photobooths.

We’ve been looking out for the hard-to-find sci-fi film The Passing (1985), and finally found a copy. Two World War Two buddies take a photobooth photo together in a booth in a 7‑Eleven, in one of two different photobooth appearances in the same film — a first?

Thanks to Jaime, and a tip from two years ago, about the film Sur mes lèvres (Read My Lips). The photobooth photo plays a small but important role in revealing a surprising truth as the story unfolds. Carla is played by Emmanuelle Devos, who also makes an appearance in a photobooth in Ma vie sexuelle, and Paul by Vincent Cassel, seen here in the photobooth at Le 104 in Paris. It’s all connected…

We’ve finally gotten ahold of Hanna, a 2011 film from director Joe Wright, which features a brief but important scene with a photostrip. Hanna, living with her father in the woods, looks at a photostrip of her mother, pregnant with her, from before her mother was killed.

And finally, we’ve heard from Sam O’Donovan Jones, who’s working on a “black-comedy/horror” film called Photo Booth. You can find out more about the film on its Facebook page and website. We’ll list the film when it’s finished.

Brian | 7:52 am | Movies
October 09, 2011

We present today three new locations from up and down the Atlantic coast. 

First, thanks to artist and author Nakki Goranin for sending in info and photos of her booth located at Speaking Volumes, a bookstore in Burlington, Vermont. We’re pleased to have another new state added to our tally, and glad to have Nakki’s well-traveled booth listed in our directory.

Next, heading northeast a bit we find a color photobooth in the  Bridgewater Mall in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Thanks to our trusty Canadian correspondent Meags Fitzgerald for passing on the scoop on this booth, which is the first outside of Halifax that we have listed for the province.

And finally, we head southwest to Orlando, Florida, a city that we know has its share of photobooths, but which has been until now un-represented in the directory. Thanks to Le Milford for breaking the ice and getting us started with photos and info on a booth at Will’s Pub. We’ve heard stories of dozens of photobooths in Orlando over the years, and without a trip planned there in the near future, we’re relying on our readers to follow Le Milford’s lead and submit these photobooths so we can add them to our directory. 

Thanks again for everyone’s contributions, and we’ll be back tomorrow with another update on Photobooths in Movies.

October 07, 2011

Thanks to Marc Bellini for sending us some photos of his one-man show in London, which just closed on September 29. 

Check out more of Marc’s work on his new website.