THE PHOTOBOOTH BLOG

February, 2011

February 28, 2011

We’ve got a little update to our film listings today in honor of yesterday’s Academy Awards, a short film from France nominated this year in the Animated Short Film category called Madagascar, carnet de voyage. The closing credits of the film feature a number of the production team behind the film in photobooth photos. While the film didn’t win last night, it’s a terrific short and we recommend you seek it out.

Brian | 4:53 pm | Movies
February 27, 2011

We continue to update our movie and television listings with more titles found through the magic of IMDb’s keyword system, and start with a film I’d never heard of, Now & Forever.

Angela (Mia Kirshner) and John (Adam Beach) visit a photobooth in—what else?—a roadside rest stop, where she takes a sad strip of photos in what looks more like a Polaroid booth. He turns around to find her gone, and we see her jumping into a semi truck, taking off with no warning. The photostrip falls to the ground, where he finds it and then, very dramatically, screams to the heavens and drops the strip, which flutters to the ground. Acting!

The IMDb list featured another film I thought we’d already added here: My Sister’s Keeper. This story of a family dealing with leukemia features a brief moment of happiness when the family visits a photobooth on the pier.

And finally, another remarkable find: Wim Wenders’ Summer in the CIty. Wenders is perhaps the king of the photobooth on film; we’ve listed photobooth moments in his Alice in the Cities, Paris, Texas, and Faraway, So Close!. We’re happy to add Summer in the City, his first full-length film, to that list.

Wenders has always been interested in automatic machines in his films, and includes many in this film: cigarette machines, pinball machines, even a visit to an “Automatischer Lebensmittel Markt,” an Automat. The first time I scanned through the film, I didn’t see anything that looked like a photobooth. On second glance, though, I spotted it, a nearly invisible shot in near complete darkness, in this extremely poor transfer. Hanns (Hanns Zischler) takes a strip of photos in the booth, located outside, in the rain. Where does he go when he leaves the photobooth? Into a phone booth, of course.

Brian | 12:37 pm | Movies, TV
February 25, 2011

We continue our survey of movies and TV shows new to us thanks to an IMDb keyword search with a television show that sets a new standard: the earliest appearance by a photobooth in a TV show that we have yet found. Expanding the history of photobooths in TV to a run of more than 50 years, this 1959 episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” utilizes a somewhat aytpical single-shot photobooth. The machine, which produces Photomatic-style photos though without a frame, is located in a bar where David Logan (Clint Kimbrough) meets a sailor, played by the great Clu Gulager, in the episode “Appointment at Eleven.” The use of the booth doesn’t do much in the way of advancing the plot, but we’re excited to have found a link, however tenuous, between the great Hitch and the photobooth.

Next, switching gears more than a little, we’ve got what seems like a haunted or possessed photobooth at a roadside rest stop in the 2003 thriller Octane, starring Madeleine Stowe and Mischa Barton. The movie is pretty forgettable, but does feature a nice little moment when the flash goes off in an empty photobooth, freaking out an already freaked out mom (Stowe) looking for her rebellious daughter (Barton), who’s cast her lot in with some bad, bad folks.

Jumping across the pond to another roadside rest stop, two young protagonists of Late Night Shopping hop into a photobooth for a combination fight/makeout session, and look lovingly at the resulting photostrip afterwards. For a fake strip, the result isn’t the worst we’ve seen.

And finally, a photobooth scene in a movie we’d heard about but not done anything about, the 2010 re-imagining of The A-Team. Thanks to Meags for the original tip on this film. Face (Bradley Cooper) pulls Charissa (Jessica Biel) in the world’s roomiest photobooth, where they slap and punch and gouge each other’s eyes out, followed by flirting and handcuffs. The size and scale of the booth is way off, and the sort of widescreen video screen showing each image as the flash goes off is equally strange. Then again, the whole movie is a pretty lame attempt to recapture the good-natured fun of the original series, so it’s par for the course.

More movies and TV shows to come…

February 23, 2011

We’re taking a break from the movie and TV updates to report on an upcoming photobooth art show happening in Gainesville, Florida. The show, hosted by Fotomaton.org, is called “Selections 1.1,” and follows on the heels of their “Selections 1″ show in December, 2010, which we posted a brief note about after the fact.

The show opens March 7th and will be open for about a month, and features the work of Meags Fitzgerald, Verdi Yahooda, Odile Marchoul, and Jena Ardell.

Artists who are interested in submitting works for future exhibitions can find out more by emailing Aran Graham at aran@fotomaton.org.

February 22, 2011

We’ll begin this second batch of updates thanks to IMDb keyword system with a great photobooth sequence from an ‘80s horror omnibus film, Creepshow 2. If you’d told me I’d see—spoiler alert—George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour gunned down in a roadside tourist shop in front of a Model 14 photobooth, well, I wouldn’t have believed you. But it happened, and Creepshow 2 is your proof.

Next up, Bille August’s 1983 coming of age film, Zappa. The photobooth appears in a brief sequence in the film’s opening credits. The machine, with its “Fotografer dem selv” sign, looks similar to the machine in the Danish film Mig og mafiaen; is it a coincidence that the only other Danish film in our list also features a bare ass in the photobooth? Ponder that one.

And finally, an episode of the U.K. television show Jam & Jerusalem. The list of films and TV shows that people have taken the time to tag on IMDb seems really odd: Buffalo ’66 is there, as is Beaches, but no Amélie, no Superman III, no The Band Wagon… Same goes for the TV shows: why is Jam & Jerusalem—even for this avid fan of BBC programs, a show I’d never heard of—listed there, while iconic shows like Mission Impossible, Happy Days, and The Simpsons are nowhere to be seen? Anyway, a shop photobooth is the setting for a brief scene featuring Rosie (Dawn French) and her alter ego Margaret.

February 21, 2011

When I first began seeking out films and TV shows with photobooths in them, the Internet Movie Database was a useful tool, but I quickly exhausted the results I found from searching credits, and synopses (plus the fact that that Colin Farrell movie Phone Booth kept coming up as the first search result). As the site grew, we relied on the movies we saw ourselves, submissions from our readers, and the occasional Google Alert to tip us off to films featuring photobooths and photostrips. This week, I checked in again with IMDb and ran a search using their keyword system, which I don’t think as as robust six years ago, with surprising results.

A keyword search for “photobooth” revealed a list of 33 titles, at least half of which I was completely unaware of. Looking at the 25 unique listings (disregarding the Jay Leno-related items, as is my habit in life as well as with regard to photobooths), 16 were titles I’d never heard about in connection with the photobooth, 8 were titles we already have listed, and one, The A-Team, was a film I’d known about but hadn’t done anything about yet.

Over the next few days, I’ll be adding as many of these new films and TV shows as I can get my hands on, which will constitute a major addition to the site, and confirmation of the photobooth’s long and enduring history in the moving pictures.

I’ll begin with Amores Perros, the remarkable debut feature film from director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.

This film is the one title in this new batch that I’d actually seen, and I was surprised to see that when I first saw it ten years ago, I hadn’t paid any attention to the role of the photobooth in not one but two separate sequences. It just goes to show that if you’re not looking out for something, it doesn’t make much of an impression. El Chivo (Emilio Echevarría) takes a strip while in his vagrant mode, and another after a shave and a cleanup.

Next, changing modes completely, an episode of Mr. Bean called “Mr. Bean Goes to Town,” in which Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) heads into a photobooth after his camera has been stolen. He listens to the photobooth as the strip makes its way through the machine, and gives it a whack before the strip appears in the slot.

We’ve cataloged Rowan Atkinson’s sort of one-man photobooth dynasty here on the site. We’ve seen him in Not the Nine O’Clock News (1980), administering a wedding photobooth. Next in line is this episode of his TV show in 1991, followed by the movie Bean (1997). Having conquered television and film, he moved on to animation in Mr. Bean: The Animated Series in 2003. What’s next, Bean?

FInally, a TV series of a different color, Sons of Anarchy. In a brief bit at the beginning of the season one episode called Fun Fair, Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Clay (Ron Perlman) head into the booth for a little fun, but Clay destroys the resulting strip once they’re done.

We’ll have more additions from IMDb’s list of photobooth-tagged films throughout the week. Then it’ll be our turn to contribute, by adding the “photobooth” tag to IMDb’s entries for the hundreds of films and shows we have listed.

Brian | 4:34 pm | Movies, TV
February 19, 2011

We’ve got two new additions to our ever-surprising, ever-growing catalog of photobooths in movies and television. This section, along with the Photobooth Directory, was one of the earliest parts of this website, and it’s still one of the most interesting and oft-updated.

I watch a lot of movies as part of my job, as well as a fair number of trailers as of late, and for the first time, last week, I was watching a trailer for a film I’d never seen (or even heard of) and out of the blue, I spotted a photobooth! My colleagues probably wondered why I shouted “Hey!” in the middle of the screening, but then again, most of them know about this site, so they probably weren’t too surprised. The film was a mostly forgotten 1971 comedy starring David Niven, Virna Lisi, John Cleese, and Robert Vaughn, called The Statue.

Niven plays Alex Bolt, a Nobel prize-winning linguist who spends more attention to his work than his wife, a sculptor played by Lisi. As a way of exacting her revenge for a life of neglect, she sculpts an 18′ tall statue of her husband for display in Grosvenor Square, but gives the statue another man’s appendage, so to speak, and tells her husband it’s not modeled on his.

Bolt then spends the rest of the movie trying to find the man who provided his wife with the life model for that particular part. He uses a photobooth, one of the only ways to get a photo taken without anyone else seeing the results in those days before digital, to take a set of photos of his own to compare against. It’s not a terrific film, but the pleasure of seeing the strait-laced Niven stripping down in a photobooth in a groovy teenage arcade is pretty funny.

We also received a tip from our friend Jeff, the man behind the Art of Waiting contest we helped out with last year, that a photochemical booth made an appearance in the background of a recent episode of “The Chicago Code.” His eagle eye was right; after freeze-framing on the photobooth in the scene and comparing it with every booth we have listed in Chicago, we confirmed that the scene was shot at Skylark, home to this photobooth. I thought the bar looked somewhat familiar; I had visited there in 2005, at the end of a very long day visiting 17 photobooth locations around the city. Upon closer inspection, you can see a piece of paper on the door that reads “Skylark” as the police enter the bar; when they leave, though, a larger sign above the door reads “McGowan’s Pub,” in line with the plot centering on Irish mob criminal activity.

Brian | 9:05 am | Community, Movies, TV
February 17, 2011

Our friends at Chicago’s 312 Photobooth have opened a studio in nearby Oak Park where you can take your picture in a photobooth, peruse their photography-related items for sale, arrange the rental of a booth for your next party, and check out photography on display on their walls.

The studio features multiple working photobooths, including a beautiful Model 11, which we’ve listed in our Photobooth Directory.

Anthony and Andrea and their new digs have been featured in the local press on more than one occasion lately. Read about the 312 Photobooth Studio in the local Oak Park Leaves as well as the TribLocal for Oak Park.

February 15, 2011

This week, we heard from Olivia Pintos-Lopez, a photographer and photobooth enthusiast in Australia, about a couple of different projects. First, her photoshoot for Small Magazine hich we mentioned yesterday.

She is also behind a project that just concluded at West Space in Melbourne called Picture Yourself:

Analog photo booths are a quintessential, yet vanishing, part of the mall experience. Closing the curtain of a photo booth creates a private space for self-reflection and self-representation in the transitory areas of commercial spaces. For Picture Yourself, Olivia Pintos-Lopez will use the photo booth on the floor above The West Wing to photograph participants and record a three-minute aural portrait as the images develop. The strip of photos will be exhibited as a singular superimposed image. The sound portraits will be presented as anonymous stories that the viewer can listen in on, disconnected from a particular portrait. The resulting portraits will be exhibited in The West Wing and will be added to over the two weeks as more portraits of mall visitors are collected.

We’ve also archived the show in our Projects section, where you can read more about the show in the artist’s words.

February 14, 2011



‘Nuff said, right? Well, you’ve got to see it to believe it; check out the ad in our Movies & TV section.

Mr. Chan’s work for Austrian Railways is just one ad we’ve posted today. Others include a couple of German commercials for Nivea, for “Body Milk” and for some sort of soccer giveaway.

“Photobox”

And “Enter Play Win.”

Next, we’ve got “Stilbruch,” a German television piece about photobooths, featuring the men behind Photoautomat.

Next, a music video from France, “Salo-Maso,” by Najar and Perrot.

Next, a couple of brief photostrip appearances in Banksy’s Oscar-nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.

And finally, thanks to Olivia Pintos-Lopez for letting us know about a photoshoot she organized for an online publication, Small Magazine, using photobooth photos taken in a black and white booth in Melbourne, Australia.