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.


  1. 1

    first of all, I am honored to have been the very first to comment on this fantastic blog.

    secondly, thank you for the lowdown on the convention. I am salivating (literally) at the thought of all those free (and available!) photobooths. also looking forward to hearing more about all involved artists. truly enjoyed your flickr set as well (thanks for sharing). still, I’m so sick over missing this glorious event!

    I am inspired to post the best of the countless strips I have taken in my 34 years. will also soon be posting some of my favorite vintage found photobooth snaps, too… (my goodies will most likely find their way to the flickr group).

    please, keep up the good work. looking forward to hearing more about the convention!

  2. 2
    Mark Pike 

    I’m glad the convention went well! Wish I could’ve made it, but I just heard about it last week. We should definitely get in touch with each other about our Photoboothing experiences. The Duke Photobooth Project was wildly successful and I’d love to contribute to this site. If you haven’t checked out the video yet, you should give it a peek here. And while you’re at it, check out the article they wrote about us. I have a lot of other essays I’ve written about this experience and photobooths in general. Get in touch with me! Take care.

  3. 3

    I was fortunate to be able to attend the convention and had a great time. As an artist, exploring the many dimensions of photobooth work was eye opening and inspiring. It was great having the chance to learn from Mr. Mixup who was tremendously generous about sharing techniques learned over many years as a photobooth artist. Steve’s capacity for play and experimentation was great to be around, and helped me get over any reservations I had about just diving in. And most of all, watching the public come to play in the booths! Folks of all ages and inclinations…most played a little and looked a bunch and moved on, but a few seemed to really understand the opportunity and stayed for a few hours to explore. Let’s do it again!

  4. 4

    I am a lucky guy to meet such great people around the world who want to share in my passion for photobooth machines. A month has passed by since the convention but it is still clear in my mind as a complete success. This is down to the hard work of my co organizers Tim and Brian, Tim and Heather for being my hosts and Ron for giving us a perfect place to hold the event. Special mention must be made for Nakki and Dina who travelled from far away to join us. The people of St Louis came and took to it with great relish, watching, experimenting and having a fun. My 26 years of “boothing” and creating photobooth artworks have given me the platform to travel, meet and work with so many wonderful people. This is the best reward I could receive.

    I never would have guessed all those years ago, when I discovered the photobooth, that it would become a significant part of my life. Long may it remain so.