March 14, 2010

We salute Peter Graves, who died Sunday at 83, one of the first men ever to step into a photobooth on television.

Brian | 9:26 pm | In the News, TV
March 01, 2010

Over the past five years we’ve collected a lot of photobooth-related stuff, much more than we can get to on a regular basis, and the To-Do List tends to pile up. Over the last week or so, we’ve had a chance to get a whole passel of material online, from TV shows and movies to commercials, print ads, music videos, and photobooth locations. In no particular order, here they are. Enjoy!

A commercial for Fruit Gushers in which kids’ massive fruit-shaped heads make their photobooth tip over.

An episode of “How It’s Made” that shows how a digital photobooth is assembled.

The 1989 Lewis Gilbert film Shirley Valentine, with a railway photobooth sequence.

Low Water’s video for “Sister, Leave Me”. Dave sent me the video and a nice note back in 2008; my apologies for not getting to this for far too long.

The 2008 opening titles of “Neighbors,” now with more pseudo-photoboothiness.

The film Onion Underwater, for which we have only a few images from the trailer.

A few glimpses of a photostrip in an episode of Fringe.

An ad for Will Young’s album Let It Go, as sold by Tesco.

Science World’s Photobooth of Doom.

Wickbold Light Bread from Brazil.

The 2001 animated short fim Autofoto.

And finally, two photobooths in the Helsinki Railway Station, thanks to Marco:

The booths (Helsinki Railway Station II and Helsinki Railway Station III) are located in the west entrance of the station. 

One of these may be the first booth I found in Helsinki in 2005, moved to a new location within the station.

We’ll be back with more goodies in the coming months. 

Please keep your contributions coming, as we continue to build our database of all things photobooth.

February 22, 2010

While photobooths in the U.S. have had their ups and downs of late, it’s becoming apparent that Europe, once overflowing with photochemical booths but then reduced to extinction just a few years ago, is now coming back in a wonderful way.

This week, we’ve made a number of different additions to our various sections, representing a range of recent developments in the European photobooth scene.

First, Igor sent word of a new photobooth at the Bonton in Paris, “a concept-store dedicated to the universe of childhood.” It’s always great to see another photobooth come to life in Paris (our count is now up to four).

Next, we have a trio of items from Germany: first, an article in the Hamburger Abendblatt, listing the Feldstrasse photobooth as one of 100 must-do experiences in the city. “The machine has achieved cult status in Hamburg.”

Next, in the very same Hamburg photobooth, musical duo Liebe Minou shot a video for their song “Mein Zuhause” inside the booth.

And finally, concert venue Uebel & Gefaehrlich features a few different photobooths in a video they’ve released as a podcast. Nina Persson and her band “A Camp,” Pete Doherty from the Libertines, and a guy named Andreas each take some photos in a booth, while a narrator adds some commentary.


From our friends Martin and Ira at Schnellfoto in Moscow, we have a terrific article about photobooths, published in a recent issue of the Russian magazine Foto & Video.

Martin and Ira’s article covers, as far as we can tell, the history of the booth, information about their booth, as well as photobooths in art and a great technical look inside a dip and dunk booth. Thanks so much to Martin for sending us copies of the magazine. 

And finally, we’ve been cleaning out our “To-Do” list lately and finally got around to posting an entry for

our appearance on the BBC web show “Click” a few years ago. We mentioned it here when it first came out in 2007, but now we’ve got screengrabs, crummy as they are, and we’ve immortalized the host’s opinion of as a “wonderfully pointless site.”

February 05, 2010

playland_nyt.jpgIn a brief piece in Sunday’s Real Estate section, Christopher Gray of the New York Times answers a reader question about an penny arcade with Skee ball and pinball located near Times Square in the 1950s.

The spot in question, called Playland, is shown in the article as it appeared in 1952, with three beautiful photobooths lined up in front, in a photograph from the Office for Metropolitan History.

In addition to the three photobooths (and a neighboring “Record Your Voice” booth), the arcade seemed to have no fewer than seven different signs advertising the booths. Those were the days: four photos for a quarter, and a “Giant Malted” for fifteen cents.

Playland 1952 photograph [cropped], Office for Metropolitan History.

January 25, 2010

We’ve made a bit of a dent in the backlog of material to add to the site, and have a little batch of photobooth sightings to present.

First, we revisit the film Management. We spotted a photostrip in the trailer, and though there’s not much more in the film itself, we’ve updated the entry.

We’ve also added a clever advertisement found on the side of a photobooth in Germany:

Last summer, we got wind of an ABC News webcast featuring a review of the new Arctic Monkeys album, illustrated with photobooth photos of the band:

Described in its Wikipedia article as a “German queer cinema horror film” by a Canadian director, Bruce La Bruce, Otto; or, Up with Dead People features a photostrip (and a photobooth flashback sequence) as a key moment in Otto’s journey.

A few weeks back, James Franco hosted “Saturday Night Live,” and starred in a sketch as a Christmas tree salesman who became overly attached to his trees. As he says goodbye to one, he gives “her” a photostrip of the two of them. No, it doesn’t make much sense.

Finally, we have a 2006 film starring Christina Ricci as a girl born with a pig’s snout, Penelope. Needless to say, she takes a strip of photos in a photobooth:

Brian | 9:12 am | Movies, TV
January 15, 2010

I didn’t know who Chris Benz was before coming across this piece in the New York Times, which describes some recent changes in the young fashion designer’s life. He recently moved to a new studio space, and left his photochemical photobooth behind:

You recently moved into a new studio space, but you didn’t bring along your famous photo booth.

It was getting to be a bit of an albatross. It broke down. There was only one company in the tristate area that sold them and serviced them, and it closed. So it was just sitting there, all 2,000 pounds of it. We ended up begging this guy in Pennsylvania to take it. At first he didn’t want to, because he said it was worth so much money. We were like, “Just take it!”

New York Magazine characterizes the move this way: “Already he’s moved on from his old studio, ditching a beloved, near-inoperable photo booth in the process…”

You can see some photobooth photos here and a photo of the booth and some photostrips in a New York Times post he guest-blogged in 2008.

January 07, 2010

Thanks again to Meags, who sent us a massive contribution of booths last year, we’ve got more booths in our directory from Canada and Germany.

The folks at Photoautomat have a large and growing empire across Europe (check out their entire list), and we’re happy to have two more of their Berlin booths listed in our directory. The booths are, like nearly all of the German booths, located outside, at Kottbusser Tor and in front of the Kaiser’s grocery store on Revalerstrasse.

We’re still looking for listings for their photobooths in Dresden and (thanks to Ole for reminding us that we already have the photobooth in Dresden on our list!) Köln, so if anyone has travel plans that will take them to either city soon, please don’t forget your camera and send us some photos and info.

Our Canadian listings have also been expanded, with entries for booths in the Dufferin Mall in Toronto and the Mill Woods Town Centre in Edmonton. Thanks, Meags!

January 05, 2010

rivermill.jpgHere’s some happier news to start off the year: while we might have lost a few booths here on the West Coast over the last year, more booths on the East Coast have recently come to our attention.

Virginia now has two black and white photochemical booths in our directory, one at the Rivermill Map Company Bar and Grill in Blacksburg, and another at the New York Deli in Richmond.

Thanks to John in Blacksburg for his photos and info regarding the Rivermill booth, which he describes as “the pride” of his antique camera collection.

Thanks as well to my brother Scott in Richmond for his photos, and to Demetrios for telling us more about his booth, which he owns outright and which is maintained by one of his managers, who has learned to change the chemicals and keep the booth in working order.

January 04, 2010

Nothing like starting off the year with some bad news: we’ve been sitting on this story for awhile now, but thanks to a flood of information from readers, it’s time to report on some sad disappearances. Photochemical photobooths all over California have been disappearing left and right, it seems. Booths in venerable locations, where they’ve been for years, have recently been sold or replaced by digital booths, much to the chagrin of local photobooth enthusiasts.

Starting up in the Bay Area, the outdoor booth at the Bancroft Clothing Company in Berkeley has disappeared. Thanks to Holly for letting us know in December of 2009. Victoria wrote in with some more details this week:

I was then made aware that they had plans to have their photobooth hauled away that week! This was terrible news as this was the last chem-photo booth in the east bay. Now I have to got to San Francisco to do any photoboothing. Not to mention this was a color booth making it even more of a loss. The manager I talked to told me that it would get vandalized and just didn’t make much money which was why they were getting rid of it. 

Second, in Santa Cruz, the four photobooths at the Casino Arcade are now gone. They began disappearing in early 2009; thanks to Dennis and to Victoria for the updates.

Next, the beautiful Model 11 photobooth (and its slightly less beautiful in comparison companion) at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Barbara let us know about their disappearance in June of 2009; my call to the gift shop there didn’t yield any clues as to where they’d moved to, but they were replaced by a digital booth, which seems like a bit of an insult considering the location.

Closer to home here at West, we’ve lost two photochemical booths in Hollywood, the last two to survive in recent years. First, the booth at Lucky Strike Lanes. Thanks again to Dennis for tipping us off to that change; I’d visited it not two weeks before it left, and it seemed like it was in fine shape, turning out great-looking strips. Sad indeed. Just down the street, Tiny’s K.O., home to the great-looking photobooth that sat outside in their entry way, closed down, and the booth was put up for sale. The booth rarely worked, and we never got a chance to put it to use.

Thanks to Dennis, Holly, Barbara, Alison, Ricky, Victoria, Steve, and everyone else who wrote in to let us know about these booths.