THE PHOTOBOOTH BLOG

Archive: Movies

May 31, 2012

I’m still in the process of cleaning up the props and supplies that litter my office, and I pack up and ship another piece of art to a contributing artist each day, but the 2012 International Photobooth Convention has come and gone, and it’s time to put down in words and pictures what happened.

After months of planning, the convention began for us with a get-together on Thursday night at my house for some people who had come in from out of town. It also provided an excuse for me to get Anthony over to repair my booth, so we could all take photos in it before the evening was over. It was great to see old friends again, and get to know new ones.

2012 International Photobooth Convention

Earlier in the afternoon, we had a visit from Roman, down from San Francisco with his beautiful Model 11, which Anthony, Tim, and I checked out enviously as it sat in my driveway.

International Photobooth Convention

International Photobooth Convention

Though it wasn’t ready to produce photos yet, Roman was kind enough to bring his booth to the Electric Lodge so convention-goers could admire it during our Friday opening.

On Friday morning, Tim and I loaded all of the materials I’d collected at my house into the car and headed over to the Electric Lodge to get things ready. As we starting setting up and hanging art, Jim and Raul from Foto-Mat and Mike from Classic Photo Booth both arrived with their photobooths and brought them into the Lodge.

We couldn’t have done this event without them, and it was not only wonderful to have both a black and white and a color machine on hand, but it was a real pleasure meeting and talking to the guys. Watching their different techniques for moving, unloading, and setting up the booths was a special bonus for those of us who have done it once or twice (or a hundred times) ourselves.

2012 International Photobooth Convention

2012 International Photobooth Convention

The 25th Anniversary of the seminal PHOTOMATON photobooth art show was a big part of the convention, and we spent most of Friday afternoon hanging the art on the walls of the lobby, the stairs, and the upstairs area of the Electric Lodge. The folks at the lodge were extremely helpful, especially Lavinia, Lexie, and Jenny, and we had a secret weapon in our midst, a woman who confessed to having majored in hanging art, Meags Fitzgerald. I’m not sure what we’d have done without her; we didn’t know we needed her when we began the project, but it became clear how helpful she was once we got down to work. Meags and her gung-ho friend Kory along with Anthony, Tim, and I got all of the art up before the 7:00 opening, while another group of people entirely were taking care of the studio space.

2012 International Photobooth Convention

2012 International Photobooth Convention

2012 International Photobooth Convention

Aimee and Leslie took care of making the merch display a dizzying array of colorful collectables, while Leslie’s husband Keith, a.k.a. DJ National Geographic set up his turntables and speakers to give the evening a soundtrack. They also took care of our wine and soda setup, while our kids played together and occasionally misplaced a toy…

International Photobooth Convention

We opened at seven, and had a steady stream of people throughout the night. The same thing that always happens at these events happened, in which I man the front desk or get wrapped up in some other thing going on and don’t really get to engage in the actual activities of the event, but I think people were having a good time. It’s tough to underestimate what a great addition DJ Nat Geo was for this convention. We can now never go back: every event from now on needs a live DJ. He made the whole thing feel real, and I know everyone was appreciating his thoughtful selections. Thanks, Keith.

It was a fun night: we got to meet a lot of people, we gave away some raffle prizes, and people took a lot of photos before calling it a night around 10:30.

International Photobooth Convention 2012

International Photobooth Convention

International Photobooth Convention

On Saturday, we took care of a few last-minute things that needed fixing before we opened again at 3:00 pm. I set up the looping show of photobooth clips going in the theater upstairs, and we began to hype our collaborative art project. Conceived hours before the show opened and begun timidly that night, the project exploded on day 2 as dozens of convention-goers took the challenge of telling the story of a movie in four frames. Costumes, expressions, props, and text bubbles were all put to very creative use, and we collected the results at the end of the day. We’ll be publishing a pamphlet of the resulting work, hopefully sooner rather than later. Watch this space…

Anthony offered another one of his fascinating workshops, this time taking photobooth photos and creating cyanotypes, exposed in the Southern California sun. Everyone enjoyed the project and their results.

2012 International Photobooth Convention

2012 International Photobooth Convention

2012 International Photobooth Convention

It was great to see friends and families stream in on Saturday, and we had a steady crowd of twenty or so people, all day long. I gave a talk on Photobooths in Cinema upstairs that was well-attended, and Tim and I got to relax a little and talk to the folks who had come for the afternoon.

It really was an amazing gathering of photobooth enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, technicians, and artists. The brain trust of photobooth experience in that room on Saturday was formidable. It was really great to meet folks we’ve long corresponded with, like Sam in Pasadena, Johnny in Sacramento, and Joe in L.A. It was also a nice surprise to see Robin from Foote Photos again, whom I’d last met at the Orange County Fair three or four years ago. I wish we’d been able to have everyone sit down and tell their stories. It would have been a fascinating conversation.

2012 International Photobooth Convention

2012 International Photobooth Convention

Before we knew it, it was 10:00, there was a dog in the photobooth, and it was time to close up shop and begin the long process of taking down the art we’d hung up just over 24 hours before. Note to self: next time, use a combination of less art up for a longer period of time, you’ll appreciate it. We got the booths broken down and cleaned up and out of the way, and said goodnight to the Electric Lodge, which turned out to be a perfect place to hold our little event.

2012 International Photobooth Convention

I can’t thank Aimee, Tim, Anthony, Andrea, Meags, Kory, Mike, Raul, Jim, Keith, and Leslie enough for making the event a success. Also, a special thanks to our guest, PHOTOMATON artist George Berticevich, down from San Francisco to take part in the celebrations, and to all of the artists who contributed their work to this show. Thank you to everyone who attended, took part, took photos, and contributed to our project. We hope you enjoyed it, and we’ll see you next time.

If you’d like to purchase one of our limited edition posters or PHOTOMATON show catalogs, I’d be happy to help.

More of my photos on Flickr, and if you have photos from the event on Flickr, please add them to our 2012 IPC group pool. Up next, a recap of our Los Angeles Photobooth Tour.

April 18, 2012

My how time flies. The 2012 International Photobooth Convention is just a month away.

As the planning goes on behind the scenes, we’ve added a few events to the schedule. The Los Angeles Photobooth Crawl has been on the books for awhile, and on Sunday, I visited eight photobooth locations on a dry run for the event. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Last night, we actually closed registration for this post-convention event, which will happen on Sunday night, May 20. We’ve reached capacity at this point, but will be keeping a wait list, as people’s plans will undoubtedly change in the next month or so. Contact us if you’d like to get on the wait list.

Back by popular demand, Anthony Vizzari of A & A Studios in Chicago will be leading another workshop, in which convention-goers can learn “Alternative Processes in Photostrip Reproduction.” The workshop will be held on Saturday at 4:00 pm, and will focus on the hand reproduction of photobooth photographs. The workshop will be more of a lab than an instructional session, and experimentation will be encouraged. The workshop is limited to 15 participants, and has a $25 fee for materials. Sign up for the event by emailing me.

As part of the convention, we’re assembling what should be a terrific show of photobooth art. As we work on putting that together, we’ve spruced up some of the listings in our Art section. We’ve added a few photos of artists that were missing before, and added some new artists as well.

We’ve also been working on other sections of the site. We’ve added what is just the third film we’ve found from that photobooth heyday decade, the 1950s. The film is Quicksand, a film noir starring Mickey Rooney (yes, noir Mickey Rooney) and Peter Lorre, who plays a man who runs an arcade on the pier, complete with a Photomatic booth. Thanks to Elisa for the tip.

A remarkable video clip made its way around the web last week showing a man in a nursing home coming to life after hearing some of his favorite music. The clip is from a documentary feature called Alive Inside, and we caught a glimpse of some photobooth photos in one scene.

In the realm of TV, we added scenes from a 1985 episode of the British talk show Wogan, in which guest Liz Rideal talks about her massive photobooth collage project, which is seen on stage. Thanks, Liz!

And finally, I’m a little embarrassed to admit it’s taken me this long, but I’ve finally added two new photobooth locations in my own backyard here in L.A. The Churchill in West Hollywood and Mohawk Bend in Echo Park both feature Photo-Me Model 21s that get a lot of use. We’re always glad to see new booth locations to help balance out the ones that disappear each month. Speaking of, the legendary Lakeside Lounge in New York is closing this month, and they’re looking for a new home for their beloved photobooth. Help keep this photobooth alive and well and in the East Village!

March 28, 2012

We’ve got lots of new additions to cover today, including a couple of interesting photobooth-related projects. First, a collaboration between two people on different continents whom we’ve gotten to know through the site, Katherine Griffiths in Australia and Dick Jewell in the U.K..



A few months back, Dick Jewell, the man behind the first published collection of found photobooth photos and a major contributor to the Musée de l’Elysée exhibition, contacted us to ask for some assistance on a project he was working on. He was working with Katherine Griffiths, a photobooth enthusiast and collector and one of our helpful, far-flung contributors in Australia, to animate a collection of photobooth photos of herself over nearly 40 years. We helped out where we could, and recently, they let us know that the project was complete. You can view the film, which features photos of Katherine taken between 1973 and 2011, on Vimeo here.

Talking about Katherine’s project is a good reason to mention her website as well. Her Photobooth Journal blog covers her thoughts on the booth, looks back at old photos of herself, and includes ruminations on all kinds of vintage photobooth photography. We recommend taking a look back through the archives when you get a chance, and we wish Katherine the best.

We also have a few new additions in the Movies and TV section: the 1997 film The Boxer starring Daniel Day-Lewis and a 2009 French thriller called Ne te retourne pas:

Thanks to Anthony for pointing out a Radio Télévision Suisse TV piece which follows French singer Hugues Aufray as he visits the Musée de l’Elysée exhibit. You can watch the video on RTS.ch here.

And just yesterday, the CBC aired a segment called Following the Photobooth Faithful, in which reporter Julia Caron interviews Meags Fitzgerald as well as Jeff Grostern of Auto-Photo Canada to talk about the current state of the photobooth in Canada. Give the piece a listen, it’s well worth it.

And, speaking of our faithful international location contributor Meags, we encourage everyone to check out her IndieGogo project: it’s called Photobooth Expedition, and one of its goals is to help make Meags’ trip to the 2012 International Photobooth Convention a reality. It’s less than two months away, folks: time to make plans! We hope to see you there.

March 04, 2012

As we settle back in from the Lausanne and Zurich trip and look forward to the 2012 Convention in less than three months, we’re also keeping up with new additions to the site from things we’ve spotted ourselves to the many contributions we receive from our readers every week. Thanks again, everyone, for getting in touch.

First, we’ll start with the moving image. We’ve known about a photostrip appearance in the short-lived Craig T. Nelson show “The District” since we started the site, but never had a chance to get proof. We did some trawling and finally came up with the images from an episode called “Rage.”

Just a few weeks ago, and honest-to-goodness photochemical machine showed up on “Saturday Night Live” when Zooey Deschanel, already an aficionado of the booth both personally and professionally, hosted the show. A sketch called “Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Deschanel” saw Deschanel playing Mary-Kate Olsen, and Abby Elliott playing Deschanel.

We also have new photobooth photo appearances from David Cross’s “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” and a documentary called Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox.

After meeting brothers Russ and Greg Goeken in Lausanne, we’re now happy to be able to list their photobooths in our directory: Greg runs the booth at the Shangri-La in Austin, and Russ oversees the booth at the Congress Street Social Club in Savannah, Georgia.

We’ve heard about some booths in Atlanta over the years, but never had any confirmation (jklax, I’m looking at you), so this booth marks the first booth in our listings from Georgia, and is certainly the only photochemical machine in Savannah. Here’s to many years of success for both booths in these great cities.

We have a number of new books listed, from books made in photobooths to books about photobooths to books that merely mention the machines. First, Paul Yates kindly sent us a copy of his new book, Privacy is a Myth. The book’s Blurb page describes it as “a monograph of Filmmaker Paul Yates’ 25 years of photobooth photography. From Surreal to Sexy, from Degenerate to Intimate–these photobooth strips reveal more about Yates’ personal life than one could imagine. Homeless at 15, already an artist, Yates struggled to find an outlet for his passions…the ubiquitous photobooth machine was his answer!”

Next, we have the photostrip-sized collection called Falten, Fächer by painter and photographer Hansjürg Buchmeier, who I was happy to have met in Lausanne and who is now listed in our Art section.

We added a couple of books with mentions of the booth this week as well: from James Marshall’s well-known “George and Martha” series, the book Tons of Fun features a “Clickopics” photobooth.

The English writer Zadie Smith’s On Beauty features a long, sad, “Baldy Man”-esque sequence in a London photobooth.

Once again, we need to thank Les Matons for more in their steady stream of contributions: this week, they tipped us off to a catalog from a 1985 show about identity photos that features many photobooth works: Identités.

Additionally, they clued us in to the French recording artist Kim, who has used photobooth photos on at least fifteen albums, singles, and E.P.s over the last two decades. We’ve listed as many as we could find (currently at fifteen) in our Music section, from this split single from 1994 to La cuisine selon certains principles from 2001. More information on Kim (born Kim Stanislas Giani in 1977) on his site and on French Wikipedia.

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!

February 10, 2012

As I prepare to head to Lausanne in a few days, I’m clearing off some old to-dos from the list, and have added a variety of updates to our ever-growing catalog of all things photobooth.

First, in the world of books and magazines, a few new items:

Photomatons pornographiques, a slim, French collection of photos from 1992. We can only assume is what it sounds like it is; the book seems scarce and expensive and is maybe best left up to the imagination.

Photographer Liza Rose’s book Le livre extraordinaire de –M– features numerous photobooth photos, and even comes with a strip in its elaborate packaging. In addition to the book, Rose created a video teaser for the book that we have listed in our Music Videos section.

Artist Johanna Tagada illustrated a piece about bagels in an issue of Zut! magazine from last year with some photobooth photos.

And finally, a new publication, Regardez il va peut-être se passer quelque chose…, from Alain Baczynsky.

The book is a collection of photobooth photos taken by Baczynsky over a period of three years, 1979–1981, which capture his mood and mindset after a psychoanalysis session. The photos, which uncover Baczynsky replaying the sessions in his mind, were re-discovered by curator Clément Cheroux of the Pompidou Center and one of the curators behind the upcoming Musée de l’Elysée exhibition, where the photos will be displayed. Mr. Baczynsky will be signing copies of the book at the show, as well.

In the realm of film, we have two new additions:

Dirty Girl, a 2010 film starring Juno Temple, features a battered photostrip of Danielle’s long-lost father.

In Love Actually, we get an extremely brief glimpse of Liam Neeson and his late wife in a photobooth, as seen in a slide show at her funeral.

In television, Laura Linney’s The Big C featured a photostrip in a recent episode. The booth was at a celebratory funeral for an unborn baby; Rebecca (Cynthia Nixon) was disappointed it was being hogged by Cathy’s friends rather than actual mourners.

Ad agencies seem never to tire of the photobooth as a prop; we have two more ads that prove that the shtick is still fresh in someone’s mind, somewhere.

First, Photomaton, a French commercial for Freedent White gum.

And, more recently, commercial for a charm bracelet from Kay Jewelers that aired last week.

Finally, we’ve also listed a new project, The Sketch-O-Matic, in our Projects section. Made for use at an art space in Manchester, England, last year, the Sketch-O-Matic replaces the photobooth camera with an artist, who draws a quick portrait of the sitter in about the same amount of time as it would take for a photostrip to develop.

Safe travels to everyone heading to Switzerland this weekend and next week. Please come say hi; I’ll be the guy with the camera trying to capture the proceedings. Internet connection willing, I’ll be tweeting and posting some photos from the event over the next week, so stay tuned if you can’t make it in person.

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
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 19, 2011

The contributions seem to be flowing rapidly these days, and this week, we’ve got a varied assortment of new material to call your attention to.

First, a few additions to the otherwise neglected Music section. A Spanish band known as Parking Radio has released an album called Photomaton, with a song titled El Photomaton.

And thanks to a tip from Charles, we’ve added the Biz Markie classic “Just a Friend,” with its lyric, “Come to the picture booth/ So I can ask you some questions to see if you’re hundred proof.”

We’ve finally put a few more TV shows from Europe on the site, contributions we received awhile back but have only now managed to gather and present. First, thanks to Caitlin for telling us about a scene from the UK show Primeval:

And second, we’ve added a page for the European news show Metropolis. We mentioned the show a few months ago, and now have a permanent home for it in our TV section.

We also added another gem of a find from Les Matons: an Italian crime film called Escape from Death Row, a Lee Van Cleef vehicle with a great photobooth murder sequence.

Our In Print section has a few new additions as well. First, thanks to Siobhan for sending us scans from the magazine Oh Comely, which featured an interview with the owner of the only photochemical photobooth in Ireland.

Thanks to Kerstin for tipping us off to a new German photography book titled Photomaton: Frauen Männer Kinder, a collection of 500 photobooth photos taken between 1938 and 1945.

And finally, we’ve heard from Ginny Lloyd, the artist behind A Day at the Races, who has a new photobooth project for which she’s accepting contributions. Here are her instructions:

If you want to participate in the next photobooth book, mail in four photobooth style photos with dialogue bubbles documenting a photobooth performance by November 30th, 2011 to: PhotoBooth Book, PO Box 1424, Jupiter, FL 33468.

For quality control, no electronic submissions please — original photobooth or photobooth like photos only — no copies! No returns. Future exhibitions to be announced to participants. Be sure to use the prescribed format: photobooth style image size and include dialog bubbles.

Steps for submission:

  1. Take/make 4 photos of your photobooth performance.

  2. Put this in an envelope — do not email.

  3. On a piece of paper draw dialogue bubbles for talk, think and/or holler. Make sure you indicate which bubble goes with each photo.

  4. Clearly print your text in the bubble(s).

  5. Add the paper to the envelope.

  6. Mail envelope to PO Box 1424, Jupiter, Florida 33468 USA.

October 15, 2011

We’ve been cataloging and collecting appearances of photobooths and photostrips in cinema for more than eight years now. A few years back, we came across two films from very early on in the history of the photobooth (1928’s Lonesome and 1929’s Welcome, Danger), and we’ve got many films from the 1940s onward — with especially strong representation from the last decade or so. But until this week, the 1930s, the first full decade of the photobooth’s existence, has been missing from our list.

I’ve always been certain that filmmakers in the 1930s would have been eager to feature the fashionable new invention in their films, but films of the 1930s aren’t the easiest to come across, and until now we hadn’t been able to find any examples of the photobooth in that decade.

I knew that The Long Night was a remake of Marcel Carné’s Le jour se lève, but I hadn’t had a chance to see if the photobooth strip in the later film had been inherited from the original. Indeed it was, and we’ve added Le jour se lève to our list.

Last month, we heard from Les Matons that a reference was made to Maurice Tourneur’s film Samson on the French Wikipedia page for Photomaton, and after some searching, we came across a copy of the film. A beautiful, massive Photomaton makes a few appearances during an early party scene in the film, overseen by a well-dressed young attendant.

Brian | 8:09 pm | History, Movies