Author Archive

November 12, 2009

henry_ford_museum.jpgHenry Ford is the man who brought us assembly lines and mass production (among other innovations). As a result, he seems like the kind of person who would have been fascinated with the photobooth: a self-contained photo developing assembly line used to mass produce snapshots. It is only fitting, then, that the Henry Ford Museum just put a collection of 80 photobooth photos on Flickr.

A few of the photo groupings seem to be from the same strip or of the same subject, which is always interesting to see. Additionally, Suzanne Fischer of the Museum’s staff has posted an entry in the museum’s blog about the photobooth photos.

Mr. Ford passed away in 1947 which would mean the last 20 years of his life were lived in a world with photobooths. I wonder if there are any photostrips of him?

A brief blurb on this collection went out via the Associated Press today.

June 24, 2009

We apologize that the site has been somewhat dormant these past few weeks. Our webhost performed a migration, and once the dust settled, pretty much everything on our site was broken. Brian and I have been working hard trying to get things back in shape, and as of right now, the blog and its inner-workings seem to be alive again.

The only remaining issue we know of (please let us know if you find anything else that is broken) is the discussion board. When we created this site, we went with a discussion system that soon thereafter went dormant. Basically, we bet on the wrong horse. We are now trying to figure out if it makes sense to spend energy getting it back up and running, or if we should try to migrate the discussion history to a new, more up-to-date discussion board. Your opinions are appreciated.

We’ll keep you posted.

May 15, 2009

Tim_Sullivan_Rebel_Without_a_Cause_2008_1188_126.jpgSorry, you already missed the opening, but Tim Sullivan’s show (You Feel Me?) is on display at San Francisco’s Steven Wolf Fine Arts through June 20. The show includes at least one photobooth piece, in which the artist reenacts various moments from the 1955 James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause by way of facial expressions. From the press release:

Sullivan starts with a movie performance such as James Dean’s in Rebel Without a Cause, then breaks it down into its sequential emotional moments–anger, happiness, resentment, whatever. He then reenacts those emotions one at a time inside a photo booth until he has captured the entire performance in a series of self-portraits. These end up as long, elegant strips, crisp, analytical grids and thick, monotonous flip books, representing both Sullivan’s performance and the original–the presence and the absence in this work. 

If you happen to visit the show, send us a report.

Tim | 6:52 pm | Art
April 15, 2009


I am tempted to lobby for a name change of the convention to “Photobooth Family Reunion” as I feel it captures the spirit of event much more accurately than our tongue-in-cheek use of the term “convention.” I know some disparage the family reunion with an eye-roll and the chuckle reserved for a scene from a National Lampoon Family Vacation, but my experiences with said reunions are solid gold. This year’s convention was no exception, and it had all the requisite parts: the relatives you look forward to seeing from reunions past (Nakki, Dina), the patriarch of the family keeping an eye on all the festivities (Mixup), the famous great uncle whom you’ve heard stories about for years but never met (Todd Erickson), the relatives you meet and love, but never knew you had (Carole, Siobhan, Connie), the cool relative from California that you wish lived closer (Danny), all the family members you knew existed, but didn’t know their names until now (all the artists, attendees, and Center Portion gang), and of course, the perpetual family cheerleaders, the reunion organizers who are never quite sure anyone else likes reunions as much as they do (Anthony, Brian, and me!). And need I mention, what family reunion is complete without a boatload of photographs (both archival and emerging)? Then you have the few uncles who bust out family videos for everyone to watch (the shorts program, the documentary on the booth innards) and the genealogy-obsessed aunt who organizes a sit-down Q&A with the oldest members of the family in order to hear stories soon to be lost in time (the panel discussion). Throw in a few art projects for the kids (the altered photo workshop and Russian “space bridge” project) and some general revelry, and you’ve got all the necessary ingredients. The only thing missing, in my estimation, was jello salad.


Anthony proved a more-than-capable host, navigating the grassroots art scene in Chicago to provide us with commemorative convention buttons (via Busy Beaver Button Company) and a fantastic silkscreened convention poster (from artist Shawn Stucky) as well as generously commandeering a portion of his photobooth fleet and faithful support staff (thanks Andrea, Eric, Carol, and Brad) for use at the convention. Be sure to check out Anthony’s vast array of artistic and economic involvements.

Brian already mentioned it, but it bears repeating: Sheila, Greg, and family were awesome. Thanks to them for their attentive but laid-back hospitality. If you live in and around Chicago, keep an eye on the schedule of events at the Center Portion. You won’t be disappointed.

Brian (in true form) failed to mention his amazing talk on the history of photobooths in cinema. It was an updated and expanded version of the (stellar) talk he gave in St. Louis during the 2005 Convention. When I introduced Brian, I said his talk was my favorite part of the last convention — and I wasn’t kidding. His talk is something that would be appreciated by a much larger audience — perhaps we can convince him to post some version of it online someday.

Special thanks to the folks who agreed (some of them on very short notice) to sit as part of the panel discussion I moderated: Nakki, Nick, Mixup, Brian, and Anthony. If we are able to salvage any footage from the two video cameras that ran out of batteries, we’ll post a portion of the fireside chat. I really enjoyed the different perspectives the panelists brought and only wished it could have lasted longer. We only scratched the surface.

tshirt.JPGTravel for me is always much more about the people and much less about the place — this trip to Chicago was filled with wonderful and kind people, some old and some new. I did manage to see some of my Chicago peeps (Kenner, Maureen, Nils, Joanie — thanks for coming out!) and was generously housed by cousin Doug and fed by cousin Hayes (my own mini family reunion).

There was some chatter about the next convention and there seems to be growing support for having them more regularly. When asked about the dates of the next convention, Brian and I always answer with a smile, “When are you willing to host it?” We look forward to the next gathering, whenever that might be.

March 23, 2009


Those of you who have submitted artwork for consideration should have heard back regarding our selections — if you haven’t drop us a line. We have also finalized the schedule of events. Limited editions of this silkscreened poster will be available for purchase at convention.

July 04, 2007

americanphotobooth.jpgAmerican Photobooth, an upcoming book by Nakki Goranin, has made its way to Amazon and is now available for pre-order. The book is being published by W.W. Norton and will be available on February 18, 2008.

Nakki has been hard at work on this book for many years, and we are very excited to see the final product. If the cover is any indication, we are in for a treat. The book deals with the history and art of the photobooth. We will keep you posted with any developments.

January 01, 2007

Just goes to show you shouldn’t listen to your summer intern when they suggest a “super-hip” way to get your customers’ attention. Seems Saatchi & Saatchi are behind a United Kingdom advertising campaign in which a person sits in a photobooth and poses for three photos. Seems pretty standard, that is until the photo comes emerges from the side of the booth. The photos are taken by a camera mounted above the subject, and as such, show the shoulders and top of the head of the sitter. And their dandruff. Get it?

We will be interested to see if this sells any bottles of shampoo.

November 01, 2006


In commemoration of its 30th anniversary, the Photographic Resource Center has organized the exhibition PRC | POV — Photography Now and the Next 30 Years.” Much to our delight, was chosen as one of their featured organizations! The PRC is located in Boston and is a really fantastic organization. Their mission:

The Photographic Resource Center (PRC) at Boston University is an independent non-profit organization that serves as a vital forum for the exploration and interpretation of new work, ideas, and methods in photography and related media. The PRC presents exhibitions, fosters education, develops resources, and facilitates community interaction for local, regional, and national audiences. 

If you are in Boston in the next few months, stop by and check out the show. It is up through January 28, 2007.

May 31, 2006

rice_yearbook.jpgEver since owning my first photobooth I have been trying to get a school or church to let me set the booth up on premises and create their yearbook or directory.

Well, as you might have guessed, I am about 36 years too late to claim the “Mr. Originality” prize. Take a look at this 1970 yearbook from Rice University. (Full yearbook here.)

The students really seemed to get into the spirit, resulting in some creative images. Make sure to note the name of the woman pictured on the fifth page of images in the photostrip on the far right. Elton Joan. Nice.

Tim | 4:56 pm | Art
April 13, 2006

The photobooth from The Collective is for sale on eBay. Photobooths pop up from time to time on eBay, and while we try to keep track of them, sometimes they slip through the cracks. From this point forward we will move photobooths for sale on eBay to the discussion group, unless there is something unique or spectacular about the booth.

While we’re at it, there are also some nice looking photobooths for sale by way of Canada.