January 28, 2011

The newspapers of Australia’s Fairfax Media Limited have hit the stands today with a one-two punch of photobooth-related stories by reporter Lindy Percival. First, the bad news: in The Age, Percival interviews Melbourne photobooth proprietor Alan Adler in a piece titled “Future of the old photo booth not so picture perfect” (archived on our site here). Adler, who has been running photochemical booths in Melbourne for nearly 40 years, sees the end of the business in sight, saying “We’re having trouble getting paper at the moment. I’ve got a couple of months’ supply and I’m hoping I get some more, but it’s becoming very expensive … We’ll keep going for another couple of years probably. But I’d sooner be playing with my grandchildren than playing with photo booths.” Here’s hoping he keeps up the booths as long as he can; we know those machines have a lot of fans (see our Melbourne listings here, here, and here).

Then, of course, there’s the good news. In a companion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald called “The strip of a lifetime” (archived here), Percival writes about the enthusiasts and artists who are still using the photochemical booths today, with a timely look at Raynal Pellicer’s book Photobooth: The Art of the Automatic Portrait (which we’ll review soon) and a mention of our site as well. Australia’s photobooths are some of the furthest-flung examples of the photochemical machine still in use today, cherished by locals and sought out by visitors, and we hope renewed interest thanks to these articles will help them continue well into the future.