Author Archive

April 09, 2006

saks_photobooth_1.jpgThanks to a tip and photos from my cousin Jo, has caught wind of a window display at the 

Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco in which manequins mingle around a photobooth presumably waiting their turn. The text displayed on the window reads “The Photobooth Project by Christopher Irion.” On first glance, it seemed that Irion might be the designer of the clothes being modeled by the manequins, but Dr. Google informs us that Irion is a photographer who travelled the country with a portable digital photography studio taking more than 600 portraits. This he dubbed “The Photobooth Project.” It is unclear whether the booth is available inside Saks or the portraits Irion took are on display in the store.


March 21, 2006

The photobooth gallery exhibit entitled “A $3 Love Affair” has extended its deadline for submissions until April 1, and changed the opening date to April 8. Brian blogged about the show in late February.

Tim | 1:44 am | Art
March 06, 2006

Bark Magazine, Issue 33Babbette Hines strikes again, this time with dogs. In issue #33 of Bark Magazine, she contributes a number of dog photobooth pictures from her collection. Unfortunately the magazine is no longer on shelves, and we are still trying to track down a copy. If any one of you has this issue, we’d appreciate a scan.

Thanks to Monte and Angel for the tip!

While we’re not sure where to file it on, it is also worth mentioning that Chronicle Books published postcard versions of some of the images from Babbette’s book.

January 02, 2006

A very nice looking Model 14 photobooth is for sale on eBay. It has the original pagoda-style roof and looks to be in really good condition. The topsign (which I also assume comes with the auction) is in great shape, as well.

And if that doesn’t fill your pop culture quota, bid on two photostrips of Bam Margera (Jackass fame) and his once-fiancee Jenn Rivell.

Oh, and Happy New Year from

September 27, 2005

neimanmarcusbooth.jpgThe Neiman Marcus Christmas Book (don’t be fooled, it’s a catalog) came out today, and the rumors we heard are true: for a mere $20,000 you could be the proud owner of a custom-designed vintage color photobooth. Based on the photograph in the catalog, it looks like they have done a nice job retro-fitting the outside of the booth, but to the careful observer, the handiwork of Tom Rockowski is still quite evident.

Though it is new to me, it looks like Neiman Marcus has a section in each year’s catalog (er… book) dubbed “Fantasy Gifts.” We are proud that the photobooth is getting the respect it deserves and is included in this year’s selection of gifts alongside such items as a private concert by Sir Elton John ($1.5 mil), a prototype of a personal flying machine ($3.5 mil), and a life-size Indy500 simulator ($65,000).

If any of you decide to fulfill said fantasy, let us know — we’d love to see what they did to the inside and get a better glimpse of the new side panels. And just so you know: Brian and I would prefer you not spend that much money on us for Christmas, but since it is for a good cause, we would be willing to make this one exception.

Update: The Neiman Marcus photobooth has been getting some press, including mentions in sources as varied as The Boston Herald (“…delivers classic strip of four photos, just like the one at the carney”) and Harlingen, Texas’ KGBT 4 News (“…a customized Neiman Marcus exterior and is high-tech enough to ensure I‑D quality color photographs”).

September 13, 2005

myyahoo.gifThanks to a tip yesterday from Nate Woodard, we caught mention of our website on MyYahoo’s daily website picks. For a look at the screen capture, click here.

September 07, 2005

The photobooth owes much of its longevity (and perhaps more of its economic viability) to the various passport photo requirements throughout the world. We learned from a recent CBC news story that Canada’s photobooth boom was a direct result of the photo requirement to gain entry into Montreal’s World’s Fair in 1967. We are also aware of the frequent use of photobooths to procure international passports, driver’s licenses, gun licenses, and the like.

In a saddening announcement, the UK government issued new guidelines that prohibit smiling in your passport photos. Apparently this was done to aid security systems in their attempt at face recognition. (I can’t decide whether to be impressed or frightened)

All of that to say.… it is a sad day for the photobooth.


September 05, 2005

cbc.gifA few weeks ago, Brian and I were contacted by Bethany Or, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio correspondent who was working on a photobooth story. The story was to center on the Grostern family of Montreal who own and operate Auto-photo Canada, the photobooth powerhouse in the Great White North. Brian and I spent some time on the phone answering her questions, chit chatting about photobooths, and talking about our website. Following a great conversation (Bethany has the photobooth bug, as well) we were disappointed to learn that Brian’s quotes were cut from the final piece. Too bad, as he was the more coherent of the two of us that morning. Despite the editorial oversight, I think the story ended up sounding great. The final piece aired at 6:40am on August 18, 2005, and can be heard right here.

In speaking about, Bethany makes mention of the photobooth locator that can be used to find photobooths in the USA. Well, I am proud to announce the locator has gone global. We now have a few booths listed from other countries (thanks to Brian’s travels), but we’re still waiting for our first entry from Canada. We can now support submissions from anywhere in the world, so c’mon, send us those booths.

September 05, 2005

ArrestedDevPhotostrip4.jpgMy brother Pat got my wife and me hooked on Fox’s Arrested Development. A great show. Pat also pointed out the photobooth reference in Season 1, Episode 15. A flashback involving an ill-fated trip to Catalina Island alludes to Buster’s “unfortunate encounter in a photobooth.” The flashback lasts only a few seconds and shows a series of images purportedly taken in a photobooth. Curiously, there are five frames in the series, indicating (erroneously) a 5‑pose photobooth. After screen capturing the segment for the TV section of the website, I thought I would recreate the imagined photostrip. I created a few different versions, all of which are available in the extended entry.


Tim | 8:41 pm | TV
August 25, 2005

photome.jpgIn April of this year, I made my first trek (ok, let’s be honest, pilgrimage) to Photo-Me, USA in Grand Prairie, Texas. I had spoken to Gary Gulley on the phone over the past 3 years, but it was a pleasure to finally meet him in person and put a face to the voice. (Now knowing what his face looks like, I see it occasionally in photostrip form from time to time — most recently in a local St. Louis Post Dispatch article announcing the Photobooth Convention) All the folks I met at the Grand Prairie office (Gary, Tom, Matthew, Bambi, Amber, Linda, Yuri, Hugo, Dawn, Ed) were incredibly nice, and each made me feel right at home. I was treated to a tour of the plant, the highlight of which is their wall of retired photobooths (literally stacked 3‑high, reaching up nearly 20 feet). They also have a wealth of articles and photobooth art that have been sent to them over the years. They have a collection of photobooth picture calendars the Rainbo Club in Chicago produces every year, as well as many other cool photobooth relics. They also let me see their collection of original photobooth patent applications from an array of different countries. I am willing to admit the whole thing was somewhat of a religious experience (lunch, by the way, was memorable as well — Al’s Burger joint just west of Dallas — a big-ass burger on what else but Texas toast?).


I then made a return visit to Photo-Me earlier this month while I was in town for a friend’s wedding. Once again, it was great to see everyone, though I didn’t have as much time to make the rounds. The place was pretty busy, lots of booths being readied for shipment, and lots of phones ringing. I got to wander the warehouse again and soak in the sheer enormity of their photobooth collection. Very cool. Lunch this time was equally delicious — a fine little Mexican restaurant whose name slips me at the moment. If you are looking for good Mexican grub in Grand Prairie, give Gary a call. Tom took some time to show me some of the original blueprints for the first Photo-Me machines (models 10 and 11, I believe). He has a lot of photobooth history in his head, and there is a lot of history to be had. Eventually, we need to beef up a section on dedicated to photobooth history. Given the time it took me to post this little bit about my Photo-Me visit, however, makes me think it might be a while before we have a formidable history section. Thanks Gary, and the rest of the fine folks at Photo-Me.