We first met Meags Fitzgerald at the 2012 Photobooth Convention in Venice, after corresponding via email for four years about photobooth locations around the world (she’s one of our most prolific contributors). At the convention, she told us about one of her many projects, a graphic novel about photobooths, which sounded like an intriguing idea. Two years later, the book is finished. It’s a remarkable accomplishment, and has been deservedly picking up rave reviews since its release.
We were lucky enough have an early look at the book and an inside peek at how it was made at the 2014 Photobooth Convention in Chicago earlier this year. We may be a little biased, as we make a cameo appearance in the book, but it’s a beautiful and thoughtful look at the history of photobooths as well as the story of Meags’ life-long relationship with these machines and the photos they produce. As writer and radio host Jonathan Goldstein writes,
“Fitzgerald has created something that’s more than candid personal memoir, more than carefully researched cultural history — she’s created a work brimming with that rarest of things: love. That I should use such a word to explain a young woman’s feelings for photobooths certainly sounds improbable and maybe even a little crazy. And that’s precisely why this book is so wonderful.”
You can read reviews and listen to interviews with Meags about her book on her blog.
It might be a little late for Christmas, but for the photobooth lover in your life, we recommend you pick up a copy from Meags’ website.
Since the convention, we’ve had an incredible list of new booth locations to add to the site, from six countries on three continents. I can’t remember the last time we had such a varied and interesting set of contributions. Thanks again to our readers for continuing to document these booths so faithfully.
We’ll start with a real surprise, our first ever photobooth located on the continent of Africa! Thanks to a conversation we had at the convention, Steph sent me photos and info about the booth, located in the center of Kampala, Uganda, which she had visited in 2007. We’re not certain it’s still there, but either way, we’re happy to have the booth listed in our directory.
In other news of new booths, we heard from Alexander Spevak, who let us know about the first booth we have listed in the Czech Republic. The black and white booth is located at the Kino Světozor, and a strip will set you back 50 koruna.
And just this week, thanks to an email from Stefan of Photoautomat Amsterdam, we’re elated to be able to add a photochemical photobooth location along the Herengracht canal in lovely Amsterdam. The booth is located at the Lomography Store, and takes euro coins and custom tokens — nice!
Our thanks go out as well to Matteo of Fotoautomatica, who has informed us of a new black and white booth location at Borgo Burger in Livorno, Italy, bringing their total to five machines around the country.
Swinging back across the Atlantic, we have a new location in Canada, doing its part to turn the tide of booth closures across the country, a black and white booth at the Cobalt Motor Hotel in Vancouver.
And finally, a few new locations in the U.S. First, thanks to Connie Begg for sending us info and photos about the booth at Heebe Jeebe in Petaluma, California, right before the convention.
Tony let us know about a photobooth at Big Fun in Columbus, Ohio, which follows along in the Big Fun tradition of very nearly burying their photobooths amongst the products available for sale.
We’d also like to thank Ruthie for sending in a photo and scan from the booth at the new Ace Hotel Los Angeles, which continues the Ace tradition of a “booth in (nearly) every hotel.”
As it turns out, the booth at the Ace L.A. is actually the machine that used to be located at their Portland outpost; can anyone confirm that the Ace Portland has another booth, or has it become a booth-less Ace?
Staying in Portland, we’d like to finally thank our convention buddy Kory for contributing photos and info from a black and white booth at Dot’s Cafe, with its lovely polka dot back curtain.
And finally, thanks to Nathan for letting us know about the black and white booth at Montana, a bar in Seattle. Especially in busy photobooth cities like Portland and Seattle, locations are always coming and going, so we rely on our readers to keep us posted. Thanks again, everyone, and keep the emails coming! We’ll be back next week with another update recap from the summer.]]>
Later this week, we’ll have a post gathering together all of the new additions we’ve made to the site since June, but for now, I’ll leave everyone with a shot of Milton Berle coughing in a photobooth mirror, from an ad for Vicks Forumula 44 cough medicine (hat tip to @classicshowbiz and Charles for the link).
It was a busy and inspiring three days in Chicago, and we’re sad to see it go, but the 2014 International Photobooth Convention is now behind us. We connected with friends new and old, talked shop, and of course, took loads of photos. Thanks to Meags for her peerless organizational skills, and to Anthony and the crew at A & A Studios Chicago for hosting the event. Needless to say, we were reminded all weekend how lucky we were to be putting on a photobooth event in a workshop dedicated to photobooths.
We had a great turnout for the opening night. The halls were lined with art and we had eight operational photobooths: five chemical (four B&W, one color), as well as three digital machines.
Here’s a ninety-second slice of the opening night: music flowing, booth flashes popping, people having a great time.
Meags Fitzgerald (Two Hands Two Crowns, Edmonton, AB) kicked off Saturday’s program with a workshop on Photobooth Art Techniques. Participants were treated to an overview of contemporary photobooth art, with discussion focusing on the various techniques employed. Participants were then given a bag of props and tools to make their own pieces.
Todd Erickson (Photobooth Memories, Minneapolis, MN) and his wife Leslie drove in from Minneapolis to give the “Photobooth Anatomy & Diagnosing Problems” workshop. Todd is the “Photobooth Yoda,” a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the vintage booths and their inner-workings. Not only does he know the booths like the back of his hand, but he has also spent many hours improving the weak links in booth design and construction (improved camera knife springs and magnets in the transmission drain plug, to name a few innovations). If ever there were a photobooth hyper-miler, Todd is it.
For the mid-afternoon panel, Jocelyn Dean (Portland, OR), Matt Dewalt (Photo-matica, San Francisco) and Rob Oldham (312 Photobooth, Chicago) shared tales from their experience starting and working in a photobooth business. The crowd was regaled with stories of booths mistaken as bathrooms, unsatisfiable customers, and lessons learned.
The final panel of the day focused on collectors. Ron Slattery (bighappyfunhouse.com, Chicago), Nick Osborne (Square America, Chicago) Nakki Goranin (author of American Photobooth, Burlington, VT), and Brian Meacham (Photobooth.net, New Haven, CT) shared their secrets for navigating the wild world of eBay, finding vintage pictures, and storing them safely.
Brian capped off the evening’s program with an updated version of his “Photobooths in Cinema” talk.
After shutting down the booths for the evening, a small crowd of 25 photobooth faithful (plus one guy we ran into on the street who decided to join us — thanks, Brad!) all hopped on a trolley later for a photobooth pub crawl, stopping at four Chicagoland photobooth hotspots: The Rainbo Club, The Empty Bottle, Quenchers (A holdover from the 2009 post-convention photobooth crawl), and The Charleston.
The day began with a workshop lead by Anthony Vizzari that explored the use of the photobooth camera outside the booth. The group got a tutorial on making their own control boxes as well as a camera wiring diagram. Open air photobooth photos (and a good bit of silliness) ensued.
The final organized event of the day was a book launch and signing for Meags Fitzgerald’s new graphic novel, “Photobooth: A Biography.” Meags gave a brief presentation describing her process creating the book and signed copies afterward.
Read some accounts of the convention from those who were there:
The fine folks of Photo-Matica wrote a nice piece about their experiences at the event. Kyla Herbes at House of Hipsters has a very nice writeup of her time at the convention, as well. Thanks, Kyla and Photo-Matica!
All in all, it was a fantastic weekend. Thanks again to Meags, Anthony, Andrea and the many A&A employees and volunteers who made this convention extra-special. For those of you who missed it, we’ll see you at the next convention in a few years. It usually takes us a few months to even think about the next one, but when we do, you can read about it here.
We’ll close with a great 360° panorama taken with the help (and phone, and app) of our farthest-flung convention attendee, Ksenia, who came all the way in from Wroclaw, Poland. Thanks for the photo, Ksenia!
–Tim & Brian]]>
First, we have an updated schedule:
And second, if you’re interested in signing up for a slot in one of the three workshops offered during the convention, Photobooth Art Techniques, Photobooth Anatomy and Diagnosing Problems, and Photobooth Camera Outside of the Booth, head over to the A&A Studios Store to reserve and pay for your spot now before these space-limited events sell out. You can also purchase a three-day pass to the convention there, but don’t worry, if you don’t do it online, you can always purchase your convention admission in person. We’ll see you this weekend!]]>
It’s been awhile since we made a count, and at this point, we now have more than 325 films and televisions shows listed, each one containing a photobooth or a photostrip. Of the 180 films and 146 TV shows, two-thirds of them were released in the last ten years, which is probably more of a result of our having paid attention over those years (and the films being readily available) than any kind of photobooth resurgence. I’m still on the lookout for more films and TV shows from the golden age of photobooths, in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, and I’m always excited when we get a tip about one, like we did for In God We Tru$t. Thanks, Charles!
On the somewhat less interesting side of things — but hey, we’re completists — we have a brief appearance by a photostrip in Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. Thanks to Les Matons for letting us know about this one.
And finally, from a film not even released yet, we have a brief glimpse of a photostrip on a freezer door in the trailer for Joe Swanberg’s upcoming Happy Christmas.
For more on photobooths in cinema, as well as talks, workshops, and all the free photobooths you could ever want, come to the convention in Chicago next weekend! We hope to see you there.]]>
Our friend and longtime photobooth.net contributor, Meags Fitzgerald, just released her graphic novel entitled Photobooth: A Biography which she describes as an “illustrated history meets travel journal.” We would describe it as beautiful and ambitious. Several years in the making, the 280-page book is now available at North American comic shops and bookstores but you can get an author-inscribed copy here. Or better yet, come meet Meags and pick one up in person at the upcoming Photobooth Convention in Chicago.