March, 2011

March 22, 2011

As we catch up on what’s been going on while we were out of town, we bring you some bits and pieces from our readers: five new international additions to the site, courtesy of five different folks who got in touch with us.

First, check out Alberto Tanquero’s nice found photobooth image cards over at The Found in Chicago (thanks, Alberto).

We’ve added our first German show, Alles was Zählt, to our listings, with one of many episodes featuring the romance between Deniz and Roman and a few photobooth frames. (thanks, Ricky).

We’ve also added some new photobooth projects, including Paula Birch’s site, “The Strip of a Lifetime”, with tons of photos from Australian photobooths (thanks, Paula).

Also, a lingerie photo shoot in a photochemical photobooth in Italy, courtesy of the Belgian designer La fille d’O (thanks, Marco).

And finally, thanks to the tireless efforts of our Canadian correspondent Meags Fitzgerald, we have four new photobooths listed in the Maritimes, three in Nova Scotia and one in New Brunswick, bringing our total to seven represented provinces (Yukon, I’m looking at you…):

Halifax Shopping Centre

Park Lane Mall

Scotia Square

Champlain Place

Thanks, Meags.

We’d like to thank everyone who contributed, and we encourage others to speak up, drop us a line, and help continue the growth of the site as a photobooth resource for all to enjoy. 

March 21, 2011

My wife and I took our seven month-old daughter on a trip to Europe this month, and like all of our vacations in recent years, it involved a few photobooth-related stops. I’d been corresponding over the years with Igor from La Joyeuse de Photographie, the group behind a number of photobooths in Paris, and I looked forward to visiting the booths he’d set up and hopefully meeting him. Unfortunately, our schedules didn’t mesh very well, I was only in town for a few days, and I wasn’t much of a night owl this time around. I figured that at least we’d visit the photobooth at the Bonton, so we could check out some kids’ clothes while we took our photos. 

We arrived at midday, looked around at the very nice clothes for a bit, and then popped into the booth for some photos. We took two strips, and were very impressed with the quality of the images. The strips from that machine look really outstanding. My daughter still hasn’t gotten the knack of smiling in the photobooth yet, and is a little freaked out by the cramped space and bright flash, but she’ll get there.

As we made our way to the door to leave, I saw someone I recognized coming in: it was Igor! Having seen countless photobooth photos of him, I knew what he looked like, so I called out his name and introduced myself, and we had a chat for a few minutes. I couldn’t believe my luck; if we hadn’t gotten lost, if we hadn’t decided to walk instead of take the Metro, if we hadn’t taken that second strip of photos, we never would have run into him. He and I hopped in the booth to commemorate the moment, and then went our separate ways. It was great to meet and catch up, even for a moment, and I hope our paths will cross again. Thanks for the photos, Igor!

Later that night I was out with friends in Montmartre on the way to dinner and spotted this elaborate window display in a bookstore, Librarie des Abbesses, advertising Raynal Pellicer’s Photomaton.

After Paris, we traveled to Amsterdam for a few days, and though I don’t know of any photochemical booths there, I did manage to hop inside a beautiful Model 11 that should be familiar to our readers (and anyone out there using Pocketbooth). A few years ago, we heard from Peter and Ina, two arcade game collectors from outside Amsterdam, who wrote to tell us about their beautiful Model 11 photobooth, which we wrote about here.

I got in touch before we arrived in Amsterdam and Peter was kind enough to come into town to pick me up so I could visit with him and his wife and their friends, as well as see their beautiful machine. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that the photobooth was just one of more than 50 machines in their house; while I’m primarily interested in photobooths and am a novice when it comes to vintage arcade games and amusements, I really admired the amazing collection Peter and Ina have assembled. The mechanical complexity of some of these machines blows away the photobooth; talk about crazy innards, wow! The care with which they’ve arranged them, and decorated the walls around them, is quite amazing, as is simply seeing and hearing all of these machines blinking and humming away, completely filling the first floor of a house! Incredible.


Peter’s mechanical genius buddy Coos, who was also there that night, has rigged up Peter and Ina’s Model 11 as a digital photobooth, closely mimicking the output of a photochemical machine, and without permanently altering any of the machine’s photochemical parts. Most of the elements, the tanks and transmission and so on, are still inside, and anything that was removed, such as the camera, was kept and can be replaced. The digital innards consist of a digital camera, a small laptop, a dye-sub printer, and a custom-built trimmer that cuts a strip off of each side of the photobooth photos before sending the trimmed strip, now almost exactly the same size as a traditional strip of photos, into the drying slot. The machine turns out really nice photos, and Peter and Ina were kind enough to sit with me for a few with each of them.

In between taking photos and admiring the outside of the booth, I played some games of basketball, hockey, and bowling, tried to shoot some game and land a jet, watched some Scopitones and Soundies, and generally looked in awe at the amazing collection Peter and Ina have assembled. 


It was a memorable evening, and I thank Peter, Ina, and Coos for their kindness and for taking the time to show me the wonderful collection.

After our visit to Amsterdam, we had a morning left in Paris before returning to L.A., and we decided to visit Le 104, both to see its photobooth and to see the giant carousel we’d read about. Unfortunately, the carousel wasn’t operating that day, but we found the photobooth in fine working order, and took a few strips of photos. 

Next time, I’ll have to put Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy on the photobooth itinerary, but for now, I was happy to meet some email acquaintances in person, and pleased to see that photobooths are alive and well in one way or another in Paris and Amsterdam.

March 06, 2011

We were first introduced to Raynal Pellicer when we were contacted for input for an upcoming book about the photobooth. We provided answers to a few questions, and Tim offered some of his artwork, and, as often happens with these long-term projects, we sort of forgot about it for awhile. Eventually, late last year, we began hearing a growing buzz about an upcoming work in both French and English, with its own oft-updated Tumblr full of photobooth images. 

In January of 2011, Photomaton was published. Raynal was kind enough to have the publishers send us each a copy of the book in French, and we were excited to see not only our names and words (and in Tim’s case, his work) included, but more importantly, to see what a fine collection of photobooth history and art Raynal has put together. I haven’t yet gotten ahold of the English edition of the book, but based on the illustrations alone, the book is a real gem. Photobooth photos of all kinds, with unique backgrounds, inscriptions, and Photomatic frames; photobooth photos of artists, photographers, musicians, politicians; and photobooth-related promotional material and advertisements are all included in the book. Artists whose work we were already familiar with (Warhol, Vaccari, Costa, Rideal) is featured, as are works by artists we hadn’t yet come across, including Jose Mesa, Julie Brown Smith, and Giuseppe Colovati.

For both the photobooth enthusiast and anyone interested in the history of photography and art in general, we heartily recommend picking up a copy of this book; it’s a beautifully assembled volume, full of fascinating photos and history. 

March 04, 2011

We’re bringing to a close the series of updates to our Movies and TV listings sourced from IMDb’s keyword system with some mixed results: of the six items remaining on the list, only three seem to yield solid results. If anyone can find the photobooth in A Chipmunk Christmas (1981), Leave it to Beaver (1997), or Wild Tigers I Have Known (2006)—and three more different pieces of work I can’t say I have known—we’d appreciate it. We scanned through each film at least twice and came up with nothing.

On the other hand, we had good, diverse results from three other titles listed: Road Movie, Be With Me, and Aliens Inside.

The late Joseph Strick’s Road Movie features a brief photobooth moment, in which a prostitute picked up a pair of truckers shows off some photos she took in the booth, and then relays a rather depressing story about what happened to her once when she was in a photobooth.

The film Be With Me tells three different fictional stories, one of which involves two girls who get to know each other online. When they meet in person, they go into a purikura photobooth and take some photos.

And finally, Aliens Inside, an Italian TV series. I can’t tell if the video I’ve found online, which is about 30 seconds long and mostly credits, is the full show, but it’s all I was able to find. A man dressed as an alien takes pictures in a photobooth; I wish I knew what was going on here.

So, thanks to these new tips, we’ve added ten new films and five new television shows to our tally. Now it’s time to return the favor and add the hundreds of shows and movies we have listed here into IMDb’s keyword system. I’ll get right on it…

Brian | 5:12 pm | Movies, TV