July, 2007

July 27, 2007

It seems that for some critics, filmmakers have gone to the well one too many times with the photobooth montage. While we still enjoy seeing the photobooth scene recur in films as a testament to the enduring popularity of the photobooth, it has long been our contention that someone needs to try a new approach to using the booth. In a review of No Reservations on E! Online, Dezhda Mountz writes

From the fumbling-first-kiss scene to the inevitable photo-booth montage (shouldn’t these just be banned forever?), bits of the movie are simply overdone.

July 26, 2007

Photobooth Friday, the weekly online collaboration begun by Andrea and now with its own Flickr group, has of course caught our attention before.

Now Andrea’s local paper, the Portland Oregonian, has published a story on the group, which ought to lead to a whole lot of new interest and more submissions for the weekly pool. The article is online now, but will probably be gone soon, so you can check out the archived version here. even gets a mention and a quote. Perhaps Andrea could share a scan or a PDF of the article so we can see the photo, as well — and see if all of those ellipses in the online version are really there?

Brian | 4:38 pm | In the News
July 26, 2007

bay_centre_1.jpgAfter a very successful trip to Seattle, I had more modest hopes for our visit to Victoria and Vancouver, and was happy to come away with two booths in each city, opening up a new province in our Canadian listings.

The first two booths are located in the Bay Centre, the main shopping center in downtown Victoria. The first photobooth is located on the ground floor, next to the elevators, and is a Photome Studio Model 17P.

The second photobooth, also a 17P, is found in the food court on the fourth floor of the mall. Both are color machines that provide crisp images with white borders and a rounded frame on each photo (though the frame is more gray than white on this one).

Taking the ferry from Victoria, we transferred to a ferry to travel the rest of the way into Vancouver, and I stopped in the Model 17C photobooth at the Pacific Central bus and rail station.

Finally, in downtown Vancouver, the Pacific Centre Mall was home to another Model 17P booth, located in a passageway between the Pacific Centre and the Vancouver Centre. More white borders, rounded frames, and crisp photos.

July 25, 2007

Twin Cities-born and Brooklyn-based The Hold Steady have placed a solicitation for black and white photobooth pictures on their website, in preparation for production of their forthcoming single. 

In a post titled “The Hold Steady Needs Your Help” dated July 1, the band makes the following announcement:

The Hold Steady want you to scan and send in BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOBOOTH photos of you and your friends to

The band will use the photobooth pictures for the artwork on their forthcoming new single as well as in the marketing for the release.

The photobooth photos NEED to be Black and White.

The post comes complete with a link to a release form PDF to be filled out by the contributor. Let us know if any loyal readers submit their photos to the band. We look forward to seeing the results, and now have one more reason to get our Music section started. 

Brian | 3:43 pm | Music
July 24, 2007

A trip to Seattle last weekend brought the opportunity to expand and update our listings in this very photobooth-savvy town; thanks to the enthusiasm of friends and the patience of my wife, I hit ten locations in Seattle and Kirkland, all of which are run by Will Simmonds and Photobooth Services. I was in touch with Will before I arrived, and was able to confirm some locations before heading off on the hunt. Just to update, according to our research, there are no longer dip and dunk photobooths at the following locations that may have, at some point in the last five years, had photobooths:

Hotwire Cafe, Espresso Roma and Retro Viva in the U‑District, Fun House on 5th Ave., Hello Gorgeous, Earl’s On the Ave, Tommy’s Bar, The Duchess, Private Screening in Fremont., Pretty Parlor, and Neumo’s.

Now, if any of those places do still have dip and dunk photobooths, please let us know, and we’d be happy to update our listings. Now, on to the booths we visited this weekend:

Our first stop was Re-bar, a bar and club that was preparing for a heavy night of techno when we arrived, but was thankfully quiet and empty. A driver’s license left as collateral at the door was all we needed to avoid the cover and jam into the photobooth, located just inside the club area. 

From Re-bar, we headed up to Capitol Hill to the new location of the Cha Cha Lounge, downstairs from Bimbo’s Bitchin’ Burrito Kitchen. Having spent some good times (at the bar and in the booth) at the Cha Cha in Silverlake, I was excited to visit the original, or at least the newest incarnation of the original. The photobooth has some nice Cha Cha-themed decorations inside and colorful blankets for a curtain, and fits right in along with the tiki lounge/Mexican wrestling theme. 

goldies.jpgGoldie’s on 45th was on my list, but I didn’t think we’d have a chance to stop by until we were driving by it, on our way to the High Dive. We had some time to kill, so we stopped in, caught the tail end of a tough air hockey match, and snapped some photos in their photobooth.

Our final stop for the evening was the High Dive in Fremont. It had a photobooth, but also happened to be the venue for a band that a friend of a friend belonged to, so I didn’t feel like I was dragging anyone there. We had a great night enjoying the music, and stopped in the photobooth on our way out. It was a fun night, and I was impressed, as I would be all weekend, that all of the photobooths we sought out were where they were supposed to be, and in good working order. Some of them had some messy chem stains in a couple of frames, and they all starting taking photos more rapidly than any other booths I’ve been in — hence the caught unawares look in the first photo of every strip — but they were all working fine, for which Will and Photobooth Services are to be commended. 

The next day, we headed over to Kirkland to meet friends, and hit the booths at Waldo’s and The Shark Club, both solid booths in unremarkable locations. 

pac_sci_booth.jpgOn Monday, I met Will Simmonds and we headed to the Pacific Science Center, so he could show me his two special black and white booths. The first booth is professionally decorated with a dinosaur theme to match the “Colossal Fossils” exhibit going on this year; it’s also unique as it’s the first dip-and-dunk booth I’ve ever seen or heard of that accepts credit cards, which it did very well.

We headed across the Center campus to Building 3, where we stopped for awhile at the second photobooth on the site, which is a pretty interesting machine. It’s a traditional Model 20 with a twist: the “guts” of another Model 20, the photobooth minus the half with the stool and curtain, attached to the end of the photobooth and encased in transparent plexiglass, rather than the normal lightproof enclosure necessary for processing the photos. This second set of mechanical innards is electrically connected to the working booth, and mimics the process going on inside, complete with flashes, rotations of the spider arm, and everything else that happens to make the photobooth magic. The booth does not contain chemicals, nor does the paper make its way through the process, but the ability to see how the stages work while it’s happening inside the real booth at the same time is invaluable. Will explained that the demonstration booth would be getting more signage and lighting to help better explain the process, but it’s a great start. I had a great time meeting Will and talking about the business aspects of running a multi-state photobooth operation, and I applaud his commitment to the black-and-white photobooth.

Later on that day, I hit two more photobooths, to bring the Seattle-area haul to ten: first, I stopped in the Showbox downtown during box office hours and snapped a strip in their photobooth, and then, on our way to catch a Mariners game at Safeco, we stopped at Cowgirls Inc. to use their photobooth, tucked nicely between the semi-truck cab as dj booth and the Simpsons pinball machine. Nice. 

Next up, British Columbia…

July 04, 2007

americanphotobooth.jpgAmerican Photobooth, an upcoming book by Nakki Goranin, has made its way to Amazon and is now available for pre-order. The book is being published by W.W. Norton and will be available on February 18, 2008.

Nakki has been hard at work on this book for many years, and we are very excited to see the final product. If the cover is any indication, we are in for a treat. The book deals with the history and art of the photobooth. We will keep you posted with any developments.

July 03, 2007

Four directors of Photo-Me International have stepped down this week amid brewing trouble from a major shareholder, according to a BBC News article. Profits at the company have slipped, and a review is underway to determine if the company should split up its divisions, something we’ve covered here before.

Looking ahead, chief executive Serge Crasnianski identified some areas for growth driven by the increasing appetite for ID cards around the world.

He forecast that the introduction of a national health card this year in France could see demand for 50 million photographs, while 25 million photos could be required for tobacco cards in Japan.

Tobacco cards? That’s a new one for us.

Brian | 8:01 am | In the News