December 19, 2007

That’s certainly not a word, but I’m sick of using the term “roundup” to describe one of these omnibus photobooth news entries. Maybe I should have just used “omnibus,” actually. Anyway, we’ve found a few brief items of note to relay here, and in the new year, we’ll have more news on the photobooth art front from Spain and Italy. 

  • One item that has been circulating the art news blogs recently tells of the work of Joe Heidecker, who used a photobooth to help him cover chairs in photos of design fair goers in Miami. Read all about it on the Dwell blog, and be sure to check out the “Design Miami 2007” video on the New York Times website.

  • Max Kozloff’s new history of portrait photography features some photobooth photos, according to a Guardian review:

Kozloff favours anonymous faces and everyday locations: he makes room for discarded strips of photo booth portraits, but not for the celebrated sitters of Karsh, Bailey, Leibovitz or Testino.

  • According to a recent LAist post, musician and artist (and photobooth photo collector) Mark Mothersbaugh’s “Rugs During Wartime and Peacetime” exhibition and sale at a gallery in Culver City, California, featured a booth:

They had the requisite trendy photo booth, which we avoided. Everyone’s butt looks fat standing in a photo booth. 

  • reader DaveX’s giant gallery of photostrips shows the wide variety of lighting, contrast, and chemical variables that can have an effect on the final strip. And if you’re into seeing the owner of that same photobooth mugging for the camera, take a look at the gallery of 357 photostrips of the owner, also impressive and fascinating.
December 18, 2007

More bad financial news for Photo-Me is not necessarily noteworthy, but the field day the UK press are having with headlines is somewhat amusing. 

While the Independent goes with the mundane “Photo-Me stock dives 8 per cent after warning it will go into the red,” In the News and the BBC match “picture” puns with “Sorry picture for Photo-Me” and “Bleak picture for Photo-Me sales.”

My favorite, however technologically inaccurate, is from This is Money, who declare that “Photo-Me investors get the negatives.” Nice.

December 15, 2007

Craigslist’s “Missed Connections,” home to love-lorn singles and crazy stalkers and fodder for hours of fascinating reading, brings us the briefest gem of a story, with a tagline worthy of a short story: “Found: photobooth pics in Murakami library book

Date: 2007-12-15, 10:54AM EST

Stuck between the pages of “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”, I found a strip of black and white photobooth photos: blond man and glasses girl, very much in love (or so it seems). If these are yours, I’d be happy to return them to you.

Good luck, little photostrip.

Brian | 7:05 pm | In the News
December 13, 2007


We’ve got more information to follow up on our previous note about Irene Stutz and her book Das Einfränklerimperium: Die Geschichte der Schnellphoto AG, or The One-Franc Empire: The History of Schnellphoto AG. Irene was kind enough to provide us with a description of the book in English as well as some images from the book itself.

The book tells the story of Schnellphoto AG, established and lead for many decades by Martin and Christoph Balkes. For one franc per image strip, the brothers provided the whole contry with square passport pictures — their machines became a national cultural treasure, their company a veritable empire of one franc coins. Since the end of 2006, the photo machines have been demolished and scrapped since the special photographic paper is no longer being produced. As analog machines are being replaced by digital ones, the original “snapshot character” is being lost through fun image settings and verbal instructions. But it was exactly the austerity and sobriety of the “photo machines” that triggered the desire for spontaneous self-representation.

The book will be published by Scheidegger & Spiess in Zürich, and it looks like it will be available through the publisher’s website as well as Tonight, Irene will be having an opening for her new book in Zürich, which qualifies as the coolest photobooth-related event of the year, and we hope to see photos from the evening soon.

Images and text courtesy Irene Stutz


December 06, 2007

The New York Times City Room blog asks the question, will Stumptown Coffee Roasters be “planning an outpost in the lobby of the Ace Hotel, a Portland transplant that is scheduled to open on 29th Street and Broadway in 2009”? A fair question, to be sure, but more to the point, will the Ace be bringing another photobooth with them to New York, along with their painted brick interiors, camouflage bedside bibles, and their Rudy’s Barbershops? We shall see — and while we’re at it, when is the Seattle Ace going to get its own photobooth, as well? 

December 05, 2007


My high school German is pretty rusty, and I never could understand Schweizerdeutsch very well, but the images in a Schweizer Aktuell news report about Swiss photobooths say it all. An accompanying article about the “Fotokisten” being “endgültig Geschichte,” or “finally history,” has more to say about the situation. If any intrepid readers would care to offer a translation, we’d appreciate it.

We’ve got more stills from the piece here.

Artist Irene Stutz’s fantastic site We Miss You pays tribute to these Swiss booths, and offers a preview of a book with photos and a historical account of the history of booths in Switzerland. We’ll post more on the project and on this story as we find out about it.

December 03, 2007

A few items of note in the news recently:

First, a series of photobooth-style portraits taken by royal girlfriend Kate Middleton:

The 25-year-old girlfriend of Prince William was praised as she organised an exhibition by celebrity portrait photographer Alistair Morrison.

The prince showed his support by making a late appearance at the show. The exhibition — The Time To Reflect, at The Shop at Bluebird, in Kings Road — features dozens of Morrison’s celebrity photographs including Tom Cruise, Kate Winslet, Ewan McGregor, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sting.

Many were taken in a special photobooth installed in the Dorchester Hotel in London and in venues in Los Angeles and New York as part of a project to raise money for the United Nations’ children’s fund, Unicef.

Limited editions of the originals are being sold at the show with half the proceeds going to the charity. All the proceeds from a £60 book of the passport-style images — complete with personal messages from the sitters — will benefit the same cause. 

Also, more bad news for Photo-Me:

Shares in Photo-Me International, the company whose management was earlier this month forced out by angry shareholders, collapsed yesterday as it cut profits forecasts for the year.

Some thoughts from an English writer on passport photos:

I have just had my passport picture done. The result was not a pretty sight and got me thinking.

And a piece on photobooth enthusiast Nakki Goranin and her upcoming book, American Photobooth.

With an introduction written by David Haberstich, a Smithsonian curator of photography, the 224-page tome reveals happy, stern, wistful, goofy or blank facial expressions. Many images convey specific occupations, familial relationships, romantic entanglements and outlooks on life.

The author of the article gets Nakki, but doesn’t necessarily get the current state of photobooths: “Photobooths are still around, in malls and arcades, but now they’re digital.” I guess we’ll be going, then…

November 29, 2007


Thanksgiving in Portland was a cozy affair, a little chilly but that means more hot toddies, right? We visited four black and white photobooths over two days, all of which were well maintained and in interesting locations. First, two notes about locations I had heard of and tried to visit: Despite what is written here, I can confirm that there is no black and white booth at Le Train Bleu. Also, the photobooth that was located at Rudy’s Barbershop on Division is no longer there, and has moved to either the Ace Hotel (according to the woman who answered the phone at Rudy’s) or Ground Kontrol (according to this Flickr discussion); no matter, as we’ve got both locations covered.

So, as far as we know, the only booth that remains undocumented is the booth at the Oaks Amusement Park, which we’re eagerly awaiting from a contributor who has offered to send in photos.

We’ll start with the booth in the lobby of The Ace Hotel, which was already posted in our directory but required an in-person visit to check out the details and see how the booth fits in with the general greatness of the hotel. The engraved glass, above, and the nice window sign, below, were particularly nice touches.


Also downtown, we visited the booth at Little Finnegan’s, the younger sibling of Portland’s venerable Finnegan’s Toys. Somewhat more rebellious and geared toward an older crowd, Little Finnegan’s stocks Last Supper lunchboxes and librarian action figures and the rest, and the photobooth fits right in.

matador_sign.jpgAfter spending an afternoon on Hawthorne, I walked back on Belmont St. and found Holocene, a block up on Morrison, not long after they opened for the evening at 5pm. The place was empty, but the photobooth was in fine working order, and I even found a dime on the floor while I was taking my photos. Who says this is an unpaid job?

The last booth we visited lives at Matador, a dark little bar on Burnside on the way to Nob Hill. The photobooth is back by the kitchen, and is plastered with photos of drunken bargoers, often with shirts pulled up, pants pulled down, or whatever else seemed like a good idea at the time.

From a family-friendly toy store to a true dive bar, Portland’s photobooth scene seems healthy once again.

November 20, 2007

photoautomat.jpgThe beautiful black and white photobooths of Berlin have tempted us from afar ever since we first caught wind of them, flipping through Flickr a few years ago. Thanks to our contributors, we now have listings in our directory for a number of Berlin booths, like this one, on Kastanienallee.

These photobooths now have a web directory of their own, with photos, addresses, U‑Bahn info, and a list of new locations coming soon: (or .de, if you want to be authentic) is a great resource for info on these priceless old-style booths holding their own in the overwhelmingly digital Europe. The site also clues us in to the fact that the dip-and-dunk booth in Paris that we remarked on last month is actually a permanent fixture in the Palais de Tokyo and is run by the same fine folks as the Berlin booths; check out the info page about the Paris photobooth. We would be overjoyed to have someone contribute a photo and sample from this booth so we could put Paris back on the map — hint, hint.

Thanks to Ole for letting us know about the site.

November 12, 2007

Just a quick note for those of our readers who enjoy a little Facebook now and then: now has a Facebook presence, a group where old-style photobooth enthusiasts can gather, share information, and keep up on what’s going on in the world of dip and dunk photobooths. Join the community, say hello, and look around. We’re just getting started, and welcome your input.

Brian | 7:07 am | Site News