THE PHOTOBOOTH BLOG

Archive: In the News

February 11, 2012

We were thrilled to receive a copy of the catalog for the Musée de l’Elysée show yesterday, a few days before the show opens to the public. I have to say I was taken aback when I saw how substantial it was; I don’t think I was expecting something quite so massive, more than 300 pages in length. It is an absolutely gorgeous piece of work. The partially transparent slipcover has an image of a photobooth curtain on it, and, when removed, it reveals a bright orange hardbound cover with the same text as on the slipcover embossed directly into the fabric. It has to be seen to be appreciated, and is the sort of tactile detail that reinforces my unease about the transition to digital books.

At first glance, the catalog is an impressive balance of text and images, with many iconic pieces well represented, from Warhol’s silkscreens to the Amélie-inspiring scrapbook of Michele Folco, from Dick Jewell’s found photos and André Breton’s self‐portrait, as well as recent work by Danny Minnick, Marc Bellini, and others. I haven’t gone through it with a fine‐toothed comb, but I look forward to discovering some unknown examples of photobooth art as I read it over.

The entire catalog is in French, and it’s quite something to see one’s work written so convincingly in a language one doesn’t speak. I thank the skillful translator for transforming my brief essays on photobooths in film into a nice‐looking chapter near the end of the book.

The curators and scholars involved in putting this exceptional work together deserve hearty congratulations, and have created a work that will add immensely to the available body of knowledge about photobooths in history, art, and culture. Bring on the show!

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 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 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 Paste.com, 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.

December 18, 2011

The new year is nearly upon us, and it’s just two months to go until the opening of photobooth exhibition at the Musée de l’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland. We mentioned the show here back in September, and in the intervening months, we’ve been working on our contribution to the exhibition, and hearing from others in the community about the show. If you’re a fan of the history and art of the photobooth, it’s safe to say that it would be a good idea to find a way to make it to Switzerland between February and May of next year.

From the museum’s website:

When the first photobooths were set up in Paris in 1928, the Surrealists used them heavily and compulsively. Within minutes, and for a small price, the machine offered them, in the field of portraiture, an experience similar to automatic writing. Since then, generations of artists have been fascinated by the photobooth concept. From Andy Warhol to Arnulf Rainer, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman and Gillian Wearing, many used it to play with their identity, tell stories, or simply create worlds.

The show includes over 300 exhibits and brings together different media — oil paintings, lithographs, edited films /videos and screenings — revealing the extent of the influence of the photobooth within the artistic community.

I’ll be attending the opening, and I look forward to meeting some of the other artists, historians, and enthusiasts who will be in attendance, as well as old friends from the community who will be making the trip from the U.S. and elsewhere in Europe. We will report back on the show for those who aren’t able to make it. Let us know if you’re coming and we’ll make a point of meeting up in snowy Lausanne.

November 12, 2011

We’re sorry to be a little late on this, but if you’re in Paris, you’ve still got one more day to catch it: the Photo‐Off Festival is taking place in Paris, and Marc Bellini has a series of photobooth photos on display.

The event is a collaboration with La Joyeuse de Photographie, who provided the photobooth, and La Bellevilloise.

October 20, 2011

Barbara Kent, one of the last living silent film stars, passed away last week at the age of 103. She starred in films directed by William Wyler and Leo McCarey, and acted alongside such screen legends as Greta Garbo, Edward G. Robinson, and Harold Lloyd. One of her lesser‐known claims to fame is the fact that she starred in two of the very first films to feature a photobooth, Lonesome (1928) and Welcome Danger (1929).

In both films, the machine takes a single photo which it returns in a small circular frame; in the case of Welcome Danger, the machine isn’t even really a booth, but still features the same technology and returns the same end product. Of course, the film is a Harold Lloyd comedy, so something manages to go wrong in the process…

October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs demos Photo Booth, October 12, 2005

We’d like to take a moment to salute Steve Jobs. While we may have silently cursed the fact that soon after it was introduced, the “Photo Booth” application for the Mac filled our searches and Flickr feeds with photos of kids at the Apple Store mugging for the lens rather than the kind of photobooth news and photos we were looking for, this site wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the devices Steve Jobs created and the creativity he encouraged and enabled.

The site is coded and designed on Macs and tinkered with over iChat and iPhone, but more generally, I don’t think I’d have the kind of interest in putting together a site like this, and in collaborating with people all over the world to make it better, were I not in love with the tools that we use to make it come together. So thank you, Steve, for the many ways you’ve touched our lives, and for the things you’ve created that help us do what we love with a little more joy and a little more magic.

June 28, 2011

Sad news first: thanks to some updates this month, we’ve learned that photochemical booths no longer exist at Corner Mall in Downtown Crossing in Boston and at Wasteland in the Haight in San Francisco.

In other news, Karl Lagerfeld presented a collection of photobooth photos of various celebrities to coincide with the American Foundation for AIDS Research gala, as reported by Harper’s Bazaar and Chanel News.

Check out the selection of photos of celebrities, models, and Lagerfeld himself, as well as Zhang Ziyi, seen here.

And…in other Karl Lagerfeld photobooth news, he seems to have shot a new campaign for Chanel in a photobooth, though we haven’t come across the resulting photos yet.

Thanks to Marco and Ferdinand for letting us know about a recent European public television feature on photobooths. The Metropolis segment on the Arté channel features Photobooth author Raynal Pellicer and our friend and long‐time contributor Marco Ferrari. The interview, in German, is on YouTube.

And finally, a long‐awaited chapter in my photobooth story will begin soon. This week, my Model 14 photobooth will be making its way from Chicago to Los Angeles, where I’ll be setting it up in a shed a friend and I have been putting together in my back yard. I’ll be providing updates on the setup of the booth as we go along. The race to get the machine in place and working before my daughter’s first birthday party is on!

May 30, 2011

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve posted about what’s new on the site, so here it is, a little bit of everything. First, a new booth location, The Long Room in Chicago, a booth we’ve long heard of but hadn’t had an official submission yet. Thanks, Chris.

Next up, a terrific late ‘60s German photobooth on film:

Thanks to Les Matons for a tip about a classic Fotofix booth in Anthony Mann’s Cold War spy thriller, A Dandy in Aspic.

The fascinating documentary Marwencol features a brief, passing glimpse of a World War Two‐era photobooth photo.

We also caught the photostrip appearance in Joe Wright’s latest film Hanna, after receiving tips from Joe and Raul about it. Once the film is out on DVD, we’ll add it to the site.

For photobooth fans in Florida, Fotomaton.org’s “Selections 1.1” exhibition is still on display at Karma Cream in Gainesville. We mentioned it back in February and hope some of our readers have had a chance to visit. If not, you’ve still got time, as the show will run at least into June. Again, the show features works by Meags Fitzgerald (Canada), Jena Ardell (U.S.), Verdi Yahooda (U.K.), and Odile Marchoul (Belgium). Thanks to Aran for the update.

Photobooth photos made the news recently, as the priciest example of photobooth art was sold this month: an Andy Warhol work titled “Self‐Portrait.” Brett Gorvy of Christie’s provided some background on the piece in an article titled The Birth of Cool: Andy Warhol, Self‐Portrait, 1963–1964.

Andy Warhol’s four‐paneled Self‐Portrait, 1963–1964, is acclaimed in every Warhol monograph and exhibition catalogue as his first seminal self‐portrait. It ranks not only as one of the most iconic and enigmatic portrayals of an artist’s own image, but its multi‐panel format and use of mechanically‐produced photographic imagery are also acknowledged as the most radical advancements in portraiture since Cubism.

The piece, as was reported in the Wall Street Journal, Vending Times and elsewhere, went for $38.4 million, and, as the Journal noted, a “similar self‐portrait comprising a single image from this photo‐booth series in red sold for $6.8 million, just over its $6 million low estimate.” All in all, not a bad day for the humble 25¢ photobooth.

Also, thanks to Tim for pointing out my appearance on “Jeopardy!” last month. It was a lot of fun, and though I didn’t have the chance to name drop Photobooth.net, I did get asked by Alex about my proposal to my wife in the photobooth at the Musee Mecanique .

As you may have noticed, we recently battled our way through another security failure that brought our site to a halt for a few days. We thank you for your patience and for bearing with us as we worked to get everything back in order. As always, please let us know about any photobooth news, location updates, or other stuff you think we’d be interested in.