There are many of these unusual format photos listed online as photobooth photos but I am still unsure as to whether that description is entirely correct. I cannot imagine an automatic photobooth this size. On page 125 of Näkki Goranin’s book American Photobooth, there is an example of this type of photo illustrated, leading me to believe that they must have existed somewhere, at sometime. However, I can find no mention of this type of booth in the text of the book.
Does anyone know anything about this type of arcade photograph? Was it really a coin in the slot affair? I imagine the sitter putting the money into the slot and then having to run to the backdrop to take up their pose!
I found this at the bottom of a large, mixed lot of African-American snap shot photos, which I bought from an Australian online seller for ninety-nine cents. She had bought them back from the USA to use in a project that she abandoned. I think she purchased them at a car boot sale. I love the way the image has been hand painted in such a naïve way. It being overly colourful and a bit slap-dash, adds to its crafty charm. The backdrop canvas itself is also very naïve/crafty/crappy? Still, it also adds to the photo’s appeal.
I am intrigued by the sitter’s passive gaze into the foreground. There is something of the Mona Lisa in her countenance. What was she thinking about? Although her dress looks very dated, her sausage hand bag would be a very collectable fashion item, these days.
I highly recommend Näkki Goranin’s book to those of you who would like to find out more about the development of automatic photo processes. It is the most comprehensive history of the photobooth available at this time.