THE PHOTOBOOTH BLOG
September 24, 2019



We learned of the legendary (and plentiful) outdoor photobooths of Berlin right around the time we started Photobooth.net, and a visit—a pilgrimage—has been a long time coming. I hadn’t been to Germany in nearly 30 years, and had never been to Berlin, before a family trip the summer. As much as I had heard about Berlin in general and its photobooths in particular, our experiences more than lived up to the hype.

Before arriving in Berlin, we spent some time in southern and western Germany, and passed through Köln, where we found our first booth, on Ebertplatz. As we arrived, a van was parked right in front of the booth, and for a second, I thought maybe we’d hit the jackpot and stumbled upon the technician on rounds, but alas, the van was just resupplying a food stand next to the booth. We squeezed past it and hopped in the booth for a strip of photos (and a van‐enforced off‐center photo of the booth).

As we reached Berlin, I had no illusions of returning to the days of the great “Chicago Marathon” of 2005, where I hit more than 20 photobooths in one night, but I hoped to find as many of Berlin’s 20+ booths as I could convincingly squeeze into our otherwise museum‐ and playground‐filled itinerary, without too many out‐of‐the‐way walks. I had flashbacks to a rainy walk to Sainsbury’s or a disappointed trip to the Queensway Post Office in London, and imagined those fruitless trips with kids in tow. Luckily, those fears were never realized, as every booth we visited in Berlin was in great working order, a tribute to the diligence and skill of Ole and Asger and the Photoautomat.de technicians.

We spent eight days in Berlin, and managed to stop by eleven different booths, which, factoring in an adjustment for old age, seemed to me a pretty decent showing. We found booths indoors and outdoors, singly and in pairs, delivering photos on glossy paper and matte, arranged horizontally and vertically, and we enjoyed every one.

Our second day in Berlin, I set out to find my first booth, one I had heard about in front of C/O Berlin, a photography gallery. When I arrived, it was apparent that this booth, with the Martin Balke‐design horizontal square photos, was a popular spot, with a small crowd of people waiting outside for their photos to be delivered.

As I waited to take my photos, I noticed that a woman waiting to pick up her strip had a typical vertical strip in her hand. I asked her where she’d taken those photos, as they obviously weren’t from this machine, and she explained that there was another booth inside, in the lower level of the museum. I flashed back to my “can I just pop in to see the booth and avoid the cover charge?” days, and was grateful to the kind staff at the C/O who let me zip downstairs to try out the booth, which had a beautiful exploded diagram of the photobooth transmission on the outside.

We had similarly good luck the rest of the trip, finding booths on the street, in front of empty lots, inside a planetarium, and even side‐by‐side, one color and one black and white.



It’s clear that the photobooths that Ole and Asger and Photoautomat.de have placed around the city and lovingly maintained for more than 15 years have become an integral part of the fabric of the city. You see them in postcards and murals, featured in advertisements, and even ripped off by pale digital imitators. It was a joy to finally get to see them for myself, and I was happy to add eight new booths to our locator in Berlin (plus one in Köln). There were many booths we didn’t get to visit, so we encourage anyone living there or planning a trip to send in more updates so we can keep our locator current.

Photobooths of Berlin, Hoch soll’n sie leben!