January, 2012

January 27, 2012

We’re just over two weeks away from the opening of the Musée de l’Elysée’s major photobooth exhibition, and the official announcement has just gone out. We’re posting it here in its full version, and then zoomed in a bit so you can read the text.

The card features artist Gillian Wearing’s 2003 piece “Self Portrait at 17 Years Old.”

We’re excited to see many names we recognize, many people we count as friends, and a number of artists and photographers we’re not familiar with, as well. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there.

January 22, 2012

We have a few new location updates to add to our directory, all of which are testament to the resurgence of the photochemical booth in the twenty-first century.

First, we heard from reporter Cassie Harwood of the East Bay Express, who wrote an article titled “Photographic Memories,” about a new photobooth in Oakland. Photobooth enthusiast Lisa Mancini recently purchased a photochemical booth, and has installed it at 1–2‑3–4 Go! Records, a shop and performance venue in Oakland.

The next day, I heard from reader and frequent contributor Victoria, who provided us with a photograph and scan from the booth so we could add it to our directory. Thanks to both Cassie and Victoria for getting in touch.

This week, we heard from Matteo Sani of Fotoautomatica, an Italian photobooth organization with booths in Florence and Livorno. The booths are both beautiful Model 22s, located outside on the street for all to use. 

First, the Livorno photobooth is located on the Via del Vecchio Lazzaretto.


The Florence photobooth resides on the Via dell’Agnolo.


Thanks to Matteo for these beautiful photos.

Next, we move onto Berlin, where Ole has let us know about a couple of locations that have come and gone in this European photobooth capital. 

First, the bad news: the second booth on Kastanienallee has been removed, but two more new booth locations have popped up.

First, a new booth is located on Moritzplatz, near Kreuzberg.

Second, a new booth, seen at right, now stands outside the arts venue ACUD.

As we prepare for the historic gathering of photobooth artists, enthusiasts, and fans in Switzerland in a few weeks, it’s encouraging to know that the photochemical booth is still alive, well, and flourishing around the world.

Thanks again to Cassie, Victoria, Matteo, and Ole for these contributions. Keep them coming, everyone!

January 15, 2012

We’ve just covered the appearance of Jack White on “American Pickers” as he said goodbye to the booth used in the video for the song “Hang You from the Heavens” by his band The Dead Weather. One of the other members of The Dead Weather is Allison Mosshart, who’s best known for her work in her band The Kills. She obviously shares an affinity for photobooths with White, as she and Jamie Hince have used photobooth pictures on at least three of The Kills’ releases: “Keep on Your Mean Side,” “Fried My Little Brains” and “No Wow.”

In an interesting confluence of events, just a few days after the Dead Weather booth appeared on television, The Kills have released a video for their new single, “Last Goodbye,” set in a photobooth. Actress and director Samantha Morton directed the video, and spoke about the video for Nowness:

After being sent a live performance of the track, Morton prepared a treatment referencing an Allen Ginsberg book, the works of Robbie Miller, Jack Clayton’s The Innocents, and photo booths. “I miss the quality of a ‘real’ photo booth—nowadays everything is so cheap and quick,” says the star of such films as Minority Report and Control. “The track felt incredibly nostalgic; the same way I feel about the machines.” Unbeknown to Morton, the photo booth is central to band members Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince’s ten-year partnership: the pair seek out the devices when on tour to record their travels. But Morton managed to renew the experience: “Samantha has this crazy way of inviting you into a fantasy world where you don’t feel stupid or awkward,” he says. “She had dramatic classical music that she’d play instead of our track. It made you perform completely differently. There’s a beauty and magic in it that I could never have imagined.” Here Morton reveals her nostalgia for photo booths and love of monochrome.

Where did the photo booth idea come from?

I liked photo booths and I missed them. I love the fact that when you used to go to a photo booth, sometimes you used to have wait a good 20 minutes. Sometimes, I remember, if they were really crap, you’d have to wait forever. You’d go off for a cup of tea and you’d come back to get your passport pictures. Also, it was quite expensive when we were young. It was a real treat. Now, it’s still expensive, but you just get these horrible images of yourself that won’t last in the same way. The song was incredibly nostalgic and I think that made me feel nostalgic.

Watch the video and see the “real” photobooth for yourself.

January 13, 2012

Just as I wrap up some work on “Photobooths in Cinema” for the upcoming show in Lausanne next month, I heard today from a friend about yet another 1928/1929 silent/sound film that seems to feature a photobooth. 

As you may remember, the two earliest films we’ve yet found that feature a photobooth are Pal Fejos’ Lonesome (opened in New York September 30, 1928 and released January 20, 1929), a silent released with added talking sequences shortly after its original release, and Welcome, Danger (released October 12, 1929), originally made as a silent film and then re-edited with added footage as Harold Lloyd’s first talking picture. 

Today, we learned of a third film, The Shopworn Angel, which opened in New York after Lonesome, on December 29, 1928, but was released in theaters a week before Lonesome, on January 12, 1929. The film is mostly silent but was released with two talking sequences, and stars Gary Cooper and Nancy Carroll. It’s also not to be confused with the 1938 remake of the same name, starring Jimmy Stewart. 

So far, the only evidence of the photobooth is this lovely photograph, a cropped version of a photo found on the What About Bobbed? Tumblr (where we were directed by our helpful tipster) as well as the Gary Cooper Scrapbook. In the still, we see the booth, complete with not-quite-full front wall, adjustable stool, and flash bulb visible, as Gary Cooper and Nancy Carroll look admiringly at a photograph taken in the machine. I hope to see the film at some point, and see if this scene shows up, to add more to the story of the photobooth in its early days. Thanks to Nancy for the tip!

Brian | 3:48 pm | History, Movies
January 05, 2012

Tune into the History Channel on Monday, January 9 to see what happens when Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz (otherwise known as the American Pickers) pay a visit to Jack White and Third Man Records (seen above, with not one but two photobooths). According to this piece on, the guys try to tempt Jack with a taxidermy elephant head, in exchange for the photobooth used in the Hang You from the Heavens video he made with his band, The Dead Weather.

Watch a preview for the episode on the Third Man YouTube Channel.

UPDATE: You can watch the episode on the History Channel website here.