THE PHOTOBOOTH BLOG

Archive: Projects

October 20, 2012

Next weekend, Anthony Vizzari of A&A Studios and visiting artist Meags Fitzgerald will give the first of three photobooth workshops at A&A in Chicago. Check out the description of each workshop and sign up if you haven’t already. We can’t wait to see some of the work that results from these sessions.

Workshop One: In Front of the Camera : 10/27/2012

This workshop will give you an introductory knowledge of photobooth mechanics and chemistry. A lecture on photobooth art will show you the possible effects you can achieve.We’ll focus on effects you apply before the photos are taken; experimenting with exposures, filters, gels, mirrors, magnification and external light sources.

Workshop Two: Going Beyond : 11/3/2012

We’ll re-contextualize what photostrips can be with a customized backless analog photobooth being built just for this workshop series. (Think…full body photos!) With it we’ll experiment with focus, wide angle lenses and taking photos at a distance. There will be a short lecture on the workshop’s theme so you can start thinking of larger scale pieces.

Workshop Four: Advanced Techniques & Open Lab : 11/10/2012

This open session allows you to plan and produce your own photos, applying all the skills and techniques from the previous workshops. The instructors will be on hand to help you plan and execute your concept.

October 08, 2012

The wonderful exhibition of photobooth art and history known as “Derriere le rideau” opens in its third and final location this week, at the Kunst Haus Wien in Vienna, Austria.

The exhibition has been installed, the booth is set up, and the opening reception is tomorrow, October 9. The exhibition will run until January 2013, and we encourage anyone with an interest who hasn’t had a chance to see it in Lausanne or Brussels to take the opportunity now. The photographs and other works collected in the show will never be assembled in such a way again, and it’s a real sight to see for the photobooth enthusiast.

We look forward to hearing updates from those who attend, and we’d love to post photos and reports from the lucky visitors.

August 24, 2012

Thanks to Meags Fitzgerald for this, our first ever Photobooth.net Guest Post:

I’m back and settled in after a three and half week photobooth-themed trip to Europe. For a few months I’ve been researching material for a graphic novel I’m writing & illustrating about photobooths, Photobooth, A Biography. I’ve been following photobooths during my travels for years now, including a trip to Europe in 2009, so I was uncertain how much more I would learn for the book on this trip. Any hesitancy I had was quickly cleared up as this trip proved to be a gold mine of information and adventures.

I started by seeing the art exhibition Derrière le Rideau: L’esthétique Photomaton in Brussels. This is the same show that opened in Lausanne, Switzerland in February and will be in Vienna in the fall. It was this exhibit that spurred the whole idea for the trip. I spent one full day in the exhibit, studying each work and making notes.

La Joyeuse de Photographie (Camille and Igor) installed a black and white booth at the gallery and while I was there it never seemed to get a break. This is the only booth in Belgium, and it has been such a hit that rumor has it that it will stay at the gallery permanently.

Next I headed to Paris, where I stayed with my friend Marion, who helped me immensely with the gaps in my French. I did go to French immersion school when I was little, but as it turns out that that level of education is only helpful if you need to have conversations about school supplies or need permission to go to the water fountain. Marion and I were true photobooth detectives; we visited every Paris location listed on Photobooth.net. We found that about half of the listings are no longer there and uncovered a few that haven’t been listed yet.

Highlights in Paris included an interview I did with one of the curators of Derriere le Rideau, Clement Cheroux. Clement works for the Centre Pompidou and to my surprise, when I arrived there I saw this mural on the wall adjacent to the gallery. The high contrast style and little red arrow looked familiar to me, and sure enough I knew of the artist. The mural is by Jef Aerosol who had several pieces in the exhibition at the International Photobooth Convention this May.

Digital photobooths can be found everywhere in Europe because the photos can still be used for passports and driver’s licenses. I was surprised by the slickness of this digital model, so much so that I couldn’t help but use it, despite my general aversion towards digital. I found out later that it was designed by French superstar designer Starck. His concept was that the seat is the heart of the machine, so the light within it slowly pulses, which effectively lures you towards the machine. (It worked in my case.)

Another highlight was a booth that was made by Eddy from Fotoautomat France last year for the photography exhibition/convention in Arles, France. It now lives (supposedly permanently) in Les Forum des Images in central Paris. The booth has a higher ceiling than usual and no backing. Unfortunately Eddy was out of town when I visited and it was out of order so I didn’t get to use it. It’s still a gorgeous machine though.

In Paris I visited all the booths by La Joyeuse de Photographie and met up with Camille for an interview. It’s sorta funny to use their booths, which all come from my homeland, Canada. I also met with artist Marc Bellini and he filled me in on some interesting projects he’s got on the go.

Next I went to Amsterdam and made an excursion out of the city to visit Peter and Ina’s collection of vintage American arcade machines. They are amazing people and their collection is stellar. They have a beautifully restored Model 11, which they’ve altered slightly to take digital photos, but in the future it can be switched back to take chemical photos again.

I was told that there are no wet chemical booths operating in the Netherlands and this largely has to do with restrictions on the chemicals, which cause health problems. The chemicals are too difficult to purchase and bring into the country, and furthermore it’s expensive and difficult to safely dispose of the chemicals. It’s because of this that I thought there wouldn’t be much to see in this part of Europe… I was wrong.

On my last day in Amsterdam I impulsively decided to visit the Prontophot warehouse, a two hour train and bus ride away from the city. I knew that the company has been all digital for seven years, so initially I didn’t plan on visiting, but then I got word that they had a few old rare models. By the time I got there it was after closing but Peter (a different Peter) happily stayed late to talk with me for a few hours. They had an old American Model 11, which was funny to see with Dutch signage. The real gem though was this Fotoautomat Model 9 from Zurich from 1963. The booth is huge and extremely heavy. Peter told me it was the only intact model left in the world. It also appeared in the 1998 film, Left Luggage. I did an illustration of it for my Photobooth Portrait series, which you can see here.

Next I headed to the South of France to interview Les Matons, an artist couple in Nimes. I really enjoyed talking to them about their approach to their practice and was fascinated by the scale of the projects they’ve done with photobooth pictures. From Nimes I went to Arles, a small town with a large photography exhibition/convention.

I heard through the grape vine that Fotoautomat France installed another specially designed booth at the convention again this year, I visited it a few times. While walking around town I saw a few of these large prints of photobooth pictures glued onto walls. By chance, the last time I went to visit the booth I bumped into the technician, whose name also coincidentally happens to be Peter. We chatted about technical stuff and I asked him if he knew what the posters were about. They’re part of a project by the well-known French artist JR.

I’ve since looked up his work and this project Inside Out and I’m totally amazed by it and would like to participate myself.

Next I headed to Florence, where there are two booths by two different companies. It was super hot in Italy and so I couldn’t help but be curious about what the heat does to the water, chemicals and mechanics of the booth. The poster on this booth, which gets direct sunlight was essentially melted.

While in Florence I met with Matteo of Fotoautomatica, who has restored and operates several booths in Italy. I was awed by his artisanal craftsmanship, his booth was meticulously clean and expertly constructed.

From there I visited a small town, Cesena, to visit a Canadian booth at a photography studio. I stayed with the nicest photobooth lovers you could find, Michele and Cristina. I had a few more plans that fell apart at the last minute, partially due to language barriers and because in August everyone in Italy apparently goes on vacation.

I came back to Halifax with a whole lot of insight and a bunch of goodies too. My suitcase got pretty heavy by the end, especially with books. Now I’m preparing to temporarily relocate to Chicago to do an internship with A&A Studios. From there I’ll make trips to New York and to Vermont to visit Nakki Goranin. After that, in theory the research for my book should be finished… though I have this nagging thought in the back of my head that I should really try to sneak in a visit to England, Germany and Austria in 2013. We’ll see!

July 17, 2012

We’ve finally returned all the artwork and cleaned up the supplies and props from the two days of fun and photos that were the 2012 International Photobooth Convention, but there was one thing left to do: collect and publish the amazing photostrips made by everyone as part of the “Photobooth Shorts” collaborative project.

For those who haven’t attended a recent convention, the collaborative project is something we do each year, a collective effort based around a particular theme or subject. In 2005, St Louis photobooth enthusiasts tackled four different moods in a piece called “Emotions.” In 2009, photobooth convention-goers in Chicago answered questions posed in photostrips made by photobooth fans in Moscow in a project called “Fotomost: Moscow-Chicago Space Bridge.”

This year’s project asked participants to tell the story of a film in four frames of a photobooth, using whatever was at hand including costumes, signs, props, and random strangers. I think everyone had a lot of fun coming up with ideas, and the resulting strips are hilarious, clever, and surprisingly evocative.

I picked up the finished booklets from the printer today, and they look great. They’re professionally printed and bound in full color, in a limited run of 100 numbered copies.

If you contributed a photostrip and want to have a memento of the project, or if you missed out and would like to see the results of our work, we’re happy to ship one your way for $8, postage included ($10 international), to cover the cost of printing and postage.

Choose your shipping destination and click the button to go to PayPal, or contact me to make other arrangements.

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.

May 29, 2012

As we look back on everything that happened during last week’s International Photobooth Convention, we’ll be posting recaps of all of the events that took place, the people we met, and the experiences we had during the three days. It was an ambitious event, and we used the occasion to debut a few of own contributions to the world of photobooth media. We’ll now be making those items, namely the convention poster and the Photomaton 25th anniversary catalog, available to the public.

Our poster is a beauty, designed by Jared Purrington and printed at Level Press in Los Angeles on French Paper. The poster is signed and numbered in a limited edition of 100. The poster is $20 plus postage and handling.

The poster will be shipped to you rolled in a sturdy tube.

The catalog for the PHOTOMATON 25th Anniversary show is a professionally printed and bound 36-page work that combines original biographies and artwork from the original 1987 catalog, which is now quite scarce, with updated information and images on every artist who participated in the original show. The catalog is also in a limited edition of 100, and is $15 plus shipping and handling.

Choose US/Canada or International and then click the image to purchase the item. I’m happy to ship multiple copies of either or both items, but due to the fact that the poster will be shipped in a tube, we need to charge separate shipping costs for each type of item. Please with any questions. If you’ve written me before to reserve an item, I have them set aside for you, but please click through the PayPal links to set up payment and provide me with your shipping address.

April 22, 2012

Well, so it’s not quite here, but it’s been designed, it’s beautiful, and it’s going to press this week. We have the talented Jared Purrington to thank for the awesome design (and our buddy Keith to thank for hooking us up with Jared), and L.A.‘s Level Press to thank for the screen printing. The posters will be for sale at the convention next month, and any left over will be available for sale through the website. It’s getting closer, folks…

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.

February 20, 2012

Tonight is my last in Switzerland, after a wonderful almost-week filled with good times hanging out with old friends, quality time spent thinking about, talking about, and using photobooths, plus a few mountain railways and raclette thrown in for authenticity’s sake.

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On Saturday, I headed down to Montreux and up into the mountains and Rochers-de-Naye for some snow and sunshine before returning to the Musée one last time. I shot some more footage and took some strips with Danny, Carole, and Siobhan.

One for the road

We enjoyed a walk down to the lake and through Ouchy, and planned to meet up in Geneva later that night. Danny went on his way back to Istanbul (eventually), while the London and Chicago contingents and I met up at Curiositas for a tasty dinner. Anthony, Andrea, Carole, Siobhan, and I all said goodbye until May, which isn’t so far away.

On Sunday, I headed to Zürich, and immediately upon arrival, sought out Martin Balke, the father of the Swiss photobooth, with whom I spent the rest of the day. We talked, we took photos, we looked inside the machine, we talked some more… He and his family treated me to an authentic Swiss dinner, and I very much enjoyed spending time with them.

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It was a real pleasure getting to know Martin and hearing fifty years of stories from this brilliant and passionate man, who still maintains the only native Swiss photobooth still active in the country. Now that Anthony’s refurbished Model 14 has arrived at the Musée in Lausanne, Martin’s machine has some company, but his photoautomat is unique survivor, a different strain of photobooth altogether. Though I’d seen scans of the photos it produces, there’s nothing like holding them in your hand; they’re quite simply the best photobooth photos I’ve ever seen.

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This morning, after a few more funiculars and cog railways, I met up with Martin again for more good conversation, and then spent an enlightening hour and a half researching Prontophot, the Swiss photobooth company that started in the 1930s and was later taken over by Photo-Me, from material in the collection of the Swiss National Museum. Thanks to Nora, whom I met in Lausanne, for tipping me off to the stuff, and to Betty at the Museum for taking the time to show it to me. There were some fascinating finds in those files…

Tomorrow, it’s back to Los Angeles, and less than three months before the photobooth convention. We heard from many people from all over the world at the Musée who pledged to come to L.A. for the convention, so now we’d better make it great. We’ll keep you posted.