Photomatic Driver Identity

This photomatic photobooth picture was offered for sale as an “old chauffeur’s badge” identity photo. It was said to be for a driver who “had to have their photo in their bus”.

Firstly it is not a badge. Like most photomatic photos there is a pop-out cardboard stand on the back, no pin. Hmm. Are bus drivers actually referred to as chauffeurs? Is this a bus driver’s uniform or a chauffeur’s uniform? Is it really a form of identification without a name or any other details attached?

Sure, the wear and tear suggests this picture may have been on display somewhere for an extended period, but there are many other explanations, other than the one proposed by the vendor. I have seen the same wear and tear on photos of lovers, rakes and dolly birds, pictures unlikely to have been used as ID.

This could have been a simple love token, made by a happy man for his lady.  Maybe it was a spur of the moment purchase. Was it made when a booth presented itself unexpectedly, on taking a different route home one evening?  Maybe it was a planned gift presented with a bunch of flowers?  Or could it simply have been a personal souvenir to celebrate a first or last day at work? Whatever the case, given its condition, it was proudly displayed somewhere.

As with most of my photos, I’d say the circumstances behind this picture will remain unknown. The photo is thin, there is rust on the frame, the surface is battered, faded and dull. Yet one thing radiates as brightly as on the day it was taken – a glorious, broad-mouthed smile. I love it!

1 comment
  1. I love the idea it was for his family back home. He’d gone to the city for work….


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