Say cheese! As Instagram and Hipstamatic become the photography go-to, old fashi

The Daily Mail 8/3/2012
by Daily Mail


As Instagram and Hipstamatic become the photography go-to, old fashioned 'dip 'n' dunk' photo booths are still holding their own

In an era when digital photography has turned the concept of capturing a fleeting moment into one we can manipulate and re-shoot over and over again, old fashioned photo booths are still going strong.

Even the hippest, most social media savvy Hipstamatic users among us who are too young to have memories of squeezing into the tiny cubicle with friends and squabbling over who got which picture, find it hard to resist the temptations of the $3 'dip 'n' dunk'.

In bars all over the country and at events from weddings to corporate conferences, photo booths lure patrons behind their starchy, cut-off curtains, the two minute wait still provoking the same nervous excitement as it has since the 1920s.

LA Times reporter, Gale Holland, believes the preservation of such dated technology in the Instagram era is down to a search for 'authenticity'.

'Photo booth photos are of the moment,' she writes. 'Once the money is plunked into the little metal slot, we have to live with the consequences.'

Bess Byers, a Venice marketing researcher who snapped herself in Los Angeles bar One-Eyed Gypsy's vintage booth concurred: 'I'm so over digital. With film you only have one shot and that's that. You have to make it count.'

Nostalgia for a time gone by is certainly a big part of the appeal, both as a personal trip down memory lane for merry-makers who grew up with the 'dip' 'n' dunk', and as a classy amenity for owners.

'The photo booth is very consistent with our venue's brand identity,' Eddy Buckingham, owner of 1950s inspired bar, The Liberty NYC, told us. 'Ours is a venue nostalgic for the mid twentieth century, a time when New York City was establishing itself as the capital of the world.'

And for customers, he explained, it is as much a source of fun between friends as a romantic moment for a couple to 'steal a clandestine kiss'.

He reasoned: 'In the age of smart phones pretty much everybody has a camera on them 24/7 but people seem to enjoy the novelty of waiting for the prints to develop and the hard copy image. It is a more tangible way to chronicle a memorable or special night with friends.'

The feel of the original chemical photo is a big part of the draw for fans of the machines.

Brian of, an homage to the vintage photography booth that logs and archives sightings and their known whereabouts for posterity, writes on his blog: 'The long strip of photos has remained virtually unchanged for more than half a century, staying power which is tough to match in the world of photography.'

Furthermore, these strips are made from a paper quality that digital paper, often printed on at home, cannot compare in terms of feel and weight.

Quality is indeed what draws Quinn Chovanec's clients to Photo Booth Scrap Books in Ohio where genuine 50s and 60s booths are leased to event hosts and bars nationwide.

'They want a high end feel to their events,' he told MailOnline, 'not the tacky "Chucky Cheese" feel of the new digital booths.'
For Ms Holland herself, much of the appeal comes from the opportunity it gives the user to handle the images.

'Clicking through photos in front of a screen is an evanescent thrill that can't compare to leafing through a photo album, or spotting a childhood shot of a friend spilling out of a cardboard box,' she writes.

Sage Geyer, partner at Williamsburg drinking hole favourite, Union Pool, says the photo booth at his bar has been bringing in steady business for 10 or more years and if anything recently customers have been using it more.

Contributed by Brian