June, 2005

June 27, 2005

CNN reports on an interesting feature of the latest “Dead” film from director George Romero. Edgar Wright and Shaun Pegg, the director/co-writer and star/co-writer, respectively, of last year’s zombie homage Shaun of the Dead, have cameo roles in Romero’s new film Land of the Dead. Carrying on the long tradition of the “photo booth cameo,” Wright and Pegg have a brief moment on screen as zombies at a photo booth. The IMDb entry for the film helpfully lists their official credited character names, both “Photo Booth Zombie.” We’ll be looking for the DVD release for screen captures.

Brian | 11:47 pm | Movies
June 27, 2005


California artist Rebecca Bailey (aka Baby Smith) has put out a call for submissions to a photobooth related art project. Visit her website to read more about her project:

blogging has become a cultural phenomenon in our society, where virtually anyone can acquire web space to express everything from political rants to poetic ramblings and everything in between. posting intimate accounts and/or pictures of everyday life has become commonplace in this ever increasing cyber world. in this body of work, i will incorporate photobooth images of individuals onto painted and embellished 2nd hand purses. encased in the purses will be 1–3 minute looped recordings of bloggers reciting excerpts from their online journals. each piece will stand alone, but viewed in whole these sculptures will create a tapestry of random thoughts and passages revealing a broad spectrum of unique personalities, intellects and lifestyles. my intent is to present a slice of life, reveal human emotions and vulnerabilities, and give voice to those sharing their lives, both extraordinary and mundane, via the internet. this body of work will convey a common thread — that bloggers are driven by a simple, yet very human, desire to be heard. 

Entry deadline: postmarked no later than July 31, 2005

June 20, 2005 was on a mission this weekend, hitting four photobooth locations in three boroughs in one long afternoon, with a net result of twelve dollars spent, nine dollars refunded, three broken photobooths, one threat of arrest, and one photostrip. Not a bad haul, but not exactly what we were looking for.

Having met Bill from Photo-Me a few weeks ago, I called him up and asked him to leave me a message with some photobooth locations in the City, which he kindly did. I’d been to a few before, but most were unfamiliar, and I headed out to Long Island City in Queens to tackle the bar known, coincidentally, as L.I.C.. Great bar, well-placed photobooth, but no luck getting a strip of photos to come out. I went through everything twice, heard the blow-dryer come on, but no photos came out. The bartender was nice enough to give me my money back, without me even asking, and I think they’ll be getting someone in there to take a look at it for future bar-goers.

From L.I.C., I walked to the G line station and hopped the train down to the Atlantic Center in Brooklyn, in search of a color booth I’d heard they had. I passed a digital booth near the entrance, and came upon a traditional booth in the center food area at the base of the escalators. The booth itself was broken, and I snapped a photo of its ‘out of order’ sign. When I stepped back to take a photo of the booth itself, a security guard approached and asked me what I was doing. He told me it was “against the mall” for me to take photos, and even after I dropped the “Photo-Me” name and showed him my list (albeit scrawled on the back of a grocery list) he didn’t budge, but even went so far as to warn me I could be arrested for taking photos of mall property. Oh well.

From Brooklyn, I headed back into Manhattan and stopped off in the West Village to check out the booth at The Fat Black Pussycat. The bar was open but the lounge area wasn’t, but when I asked the bartender if the photobooth was still around, he let me into the lounge to take some photos. Like a bad case of déjà vu, the booth went through the motions but produced no photos. Rather than throw more money at it, I let the bartender know it wasn’t working, and felt around on the top of the booth, where I came up with some discarded strips from an evening sometime in the past. The bartender kindly refunded my money, again un-solicited, and I stayed to drink a Yuengling’s and watch Derek Jeter’s first career grand slam in an otherwise empty bar.

Up the West Side I went, heading for location number four, The Door Lounge. I had a little time to kill before it opened, and enjoyed watching traffic for the Lincoln Tunnel go absolutely nowhere for ten minutes on 9th Avenue in front of the bar. I also watched the legendary Wallace Shawn get unceremoniously honked at by some clod in an SUV before getting into a taxi. He looked like any other somewhat old New York guy clutching a plastic bag and minding his own business. It was a moment.

Once I got in The Door, so to speak, the booth worked fine, nice crisp color, and I had my first legitimate success of the day. The other booths in clubs and bars around the City will have to wait until the next trip; if any of our readers would care to visit Crobar, Lot 61, or Southpaw, take a photo of the booth and some photos of yourselves and send it our way.

June 20, 2005

americanamusement.jpg American Amusement Co. seems to be selling a color photo booth again.

We reported on the sale of the booth in April, and the auction ended successfully with a winning price of $872.55, but for whatever reason, the booth is back on the market. Hopefully, the sellers aren’t selling a different booth but using an old set of photos.

Once again, the sellers have set a five day auction, beginning with an opening bid of one dollar, and featuring no reserve price. Bargain photobooth hunters could get a real prize with this one, unless there’s something we don’t know. The other stuff featured in the photos doesn’t seem to be included, but it might be worth asking.

Brian | 4:13 pm | In the News
June 20, 2005


We have often lamented the lack of simple, properly-sized frames for photobooth strips. Someone could make a killing with a nice, clean frame that perfectly fits the traditional four-pose strip.

So it was with some interest this week that we came across a raft of frames on eBay, purpose-made for individual photos from photobooths. These classic designs, featuring reverse-painted glass and printed messages above and below the photos, date from the 1940s. The frames, many of which feature a period photo still inside, are made of glass and metal, and measure approximately 3″ x 4″. The items for sale include a frame with a floral theme, and frames with messages that include “Remember Me,” “Thinking of You,” “Long May It Wave,” “For Victory,” and “Victory” (at right). With a starting bid of $9.99 each, these unique, striking frames are sure to go.

June 14, 2005


The Sims 2: Nightlife, the new module for the popular Sims series, features a photobooth as part of its nightclub environment. The game, recently released for a variety of game consoles as well as Mac and PC computers, lets players take their characters out on the town. “Whether they’re dancing until dawn, romancing that special someone, or striking out at the bowling alley, it’ll be an unforgettable night! Let your Sims loose to enjoy their favorite after-dark activities as they pursue a life of pleasure.” If anyone has the game and can send us a screen capture of the Sims’ photobooth, we’d appreciate it.

Apparently, The Sims 2 is not the only video game to feature a photobooth. In a list of hints concerning the game Zoo Tycoon, a Tycoon fan writes, “Don’t use the photo booth. It competes with your gift shop/stand unnecessarily as the photos count as souvenirs. If a guest has a photo, he won’t buy a gift and vice versa. Gifts cost more, so encourage that.” Point taken.

Brian | 5:18 pm | In the News
June 05, 2005

photo_me_pass_sm.jpgPhoto-Me USA was represented at the SPREE Trade Show (Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo) in Boston this weekend, billed as an “exceptional showcase of exhibitors that ranges from manufacturers, wholesalers and turnkey concept companies to property managers, mall developers and retail service providers.”

I visited Gary Gulley and Bill Lichtenwalner at the booth on Saturday, chatted about photobooths, and snapped some photos in the new DS-21. Gary was kind enough to meet me outside and get me into the show with my very own “Photo-Me USA” Exhibitor Pass, letting me become an honorary representative of the company for a day — or at least an hour.

ds_21_small.jpgThe booth, a traditional ‘dip and dunk’ machine with new exteriors, was on display in an exhibition hall full of water-massage beds, healing rocks, and personalized chilkdren’s music.

Instead of a traditional painted exterior, the DS-21 is covered by posters set into metal frames, so the exterior of the booth can be changed easily and doesn’t require expensive re-painting. A flat screen tv is set into the exterior on the front side and on the end; at the time I came by, the tv was playing the recent “CBS Sunday Morning” segment on photobooths, but would normally be used for advertising. The segment had played so many times in succession that Bill and Gary could quote lines from it at will. “Why do they have to say ‘cheesy photobooth’?” Gary asked. I agreed — Charles Osgood, time to check your script.

It was a pleasure for me to meet Gary and Bill and talk about booth locations, the history of the company, and the recent convention. I’ve got a few new booths to check out the next time I’m in New York City, and now the world knows to look out for a DS-21 at a mall near you…

June 03, 2005

norton.jpgThe New Times of Broward and Palm Beach Counties alerts us to a photography exhibition called Site Seeing, opening tomorrow at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a photobooth where museum-goers can snap a few photos of themselves. The materials included in the exhibition come from the collections of the George Eastman House (home to a photobooth of its own), featuring more than 200 photos and artifacts that explore ” the relationship between tourism, photography and motion pictures.”

Any readers in the area care to contribute by trying out the booth and sending us a photo? The show runs until September 4, 2005.

June 01, 2005

convention_recap.jpgAt the end of the day…the 7th International Photobooth Convention was a terrific success. From the dozens of people who stopped by over two days to take pictures in the booths to the artists who came from around the country and around the world to experiment, collaborate, and talk about their work, the convention was well-attended and kindly praised by the enthusiasts who stopped by. The convention received great coverage in the local daily and event papers, a spot on the Sunday evening news, and two interviews on the Monday morning news. The convention also helped this blog garner its first comment (from someone other than us) and first trackback, both exciting steps.

The whole “posting throughout the convention” idea didn’t really work, because all involved in making the convention happen were busy from morning to night setting up, taking down, cleaning up, shouting out, speaking up, and all the rest. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be putting together a convention wrap-up page where the current convention info now resides.

For my part, I have to say the convention was more fun, more interesting, and more gratifying than I had expected it to be. Admittedly, Tim and I had set pretty low expectations — “If it’s just the three of us, it’ll be a huge success!” — so when actual tens of people came to take photos, to collaborate on projects, to hear my talk and watch Amélie, and to chat with us about photobooths, it was a very pleasant surprise. On a personal level, I had never before had the luxury of free and open photobooths in a studio space, so thanks to Tim’s generosity and willingness to foster his fellow artists and enthusiasts alike, I was able to experiment, test out ideas, and so some work I’m happy with as a starting point. I didn’t know what to do with myself at first, without having to find crisp bills and fend off waiting kids, but I quickly got used to just pushing a button and waiting for the flash.

The convention was also a great learning experience for me and for others, as well, as we got a look inside the booth, and became familiar with terms like “transmission,” “toner,” and “spider assembly,” as they pertain to the tiny, miniature darkroom that lives inside each and every traditional-style photobooth.

I’d like to say my thanks to all of the people who attended the convention, from the UK to the East Coast to the greater St Louis area, all of whom contributed to a terrific weekend, the biggest convention so far, and an example of how to run a successful, fun, and fulfilling participatory art event. Thanks Tim, thanks Steve, and thanks St Louis! Check out my Flick photoset for photos from the convention. And thanks to Mark Pike for pointing us out to Boing Boing.