April, 2008

April 25, 2008

We’ve got a few updates this week, from the four (or at least three) corners of the media world. First, from mainstream TV, an advertisement that proves you can use a photobooth to sell anything. The Venus Embrace razor is the product in this case, in an ad that encourages women to use the razor and “Reveal the Goddess in You.” In one of a half-dozen scenes in the commercial, two girls go into a pseudo-photobooth and giggle under the heading “Goddess of Friendship.”

From the world of art and photography, we bring a two-page feature and brief interview with us here at in the internationally-distributed magazine ISM: A Community Project. The piece, called Photobooths: The Art of the Self Portrait. It’s a nice piece, and it’s a great magazine, available at select newsstands or on ISM’s site now; we encourage you to pick up a copy.

And finally, another old photo with with what must be a great story behind it. At the risk of starting up a “Photomatic of the Week” feature, I thought I’d post this eBay gem, because it’s a great photo and a little unusual.


Not only does this Photomatic feature the great “Souvenir of the Nation’s Capital” backing, but the young soldier in the photo is sitting behind a prop with the body of what looks like the cherubic new year of 1941 painted on it, which makes for a great image. Written on the photo itself and mostly faded at this point is the question “Guess Who?”, and on the reverse is written the date “January 13, 42.” This date doesn’t make much sense with the New Year 1941 image, but it’s still a great photo.

April 18, 2008

The history of the Photomatic will be the subject of another investigation at some point in the future, but I wanted to put up some images from some of the terrific Photomatic photos I’ve come across on eBay lately. These single-shot photobooths were found in railroad stations, nightclubs, and restaurants around the country, and many featured custom-designed backings that identified where the photo was taken.

This photo was taken at San Francisco’s Bal Tabarin nightclub, and instead of the traditional blanks on the back showing “Date” and “Place Taken,” this photo purports to show a member of the Bal Tabarin “Rogues Gallery,” and asks for “Date Entered” and “Behavior” to be filled in, though neither is on this particular photo. Some brief research turns up some information about Bal Tabarin, including this particularly helpful roundup of notes about the place. Check out this terrific amateur film from 1940 in the GLBT Historical Society collection for a brief glimpse of the exterior of this “Aristocrat of San Francisco Theater-Restaurants.” More Photomatics to come…

April 06, 2008

Another quick re-cap of photobooths in the news lately…

  • extreme_makeover_01.jpgI can’t seem to determine if the episode ever aired, as it’s not available on or via any other less legal means, but a February taping of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition took place at the Hughes home in Louisville, Kentucky, and a black and white dip and dunk photobooth was installed in one of the boys’ rooms. A Louisville Courier-Journal article describes the home, and an accompanying video shows the booth as an integral part of the photo-centric bedroom.

  • Also, thanks to Chris F. for pointing us to the new video from Million Dollar Strong, made up of Mike O’Connell and Yoshido, a.k.a. Ken Jeong, the doctor from Knocked Up. Check out the moments from the video featuring the Bar 107 photobooth in our Music Video section, or watch the video on YouTube.

  • The blog at Modern Mechanix has featured two blasts from the photobooth past recently: first, an article about Anatol Josepho from 1928 titled “Penniless Inventor Gets Million for Photo Machine,” and second, a shorter piece about the invention of the Photomatic machine: “New Automatic Machine Delivers Metal-Framed Photos.” It’s great to see these hard-to-find magazine pieces archived, at least for now, on the web.

  • And finally, thanks to Tim, each of our photobooth locations now features a nifty Google map right on the location page, to make your photobooth-hunting even easier.