House of Mirth

This is a re-blog of part of a post written by Joel Rotenberg* for House of Mirth, a blog run by Stacy Waldman. Please check out this wonderful vintage photography site.

“Mark Glovsky** pointed out to me that nudity is oddly rare in photobooth portraits, and he is absolutely right. This is the only example I have. I think it’s pretty recent, so maybe it doesn’t even count.

Where is all the photobooth nudity? By rights it should be common. People had every reason to believe they would be the only ones who ever saw what they did in the booths; in this respect photobooths are like Polaroids, which aren’t processed by a lab and—for that very reason, I’ve always thought—are full of sex and nudity. And if you were a certain kind of person, wouldn’t you take the curtained-off booth as a dare?”

I agree with Joel that it is strange that there are not more extant nude photobooth photos. The likely scenario in my mind is that they were/are taken in abundance but discarded by embarrassed relatives, if discovered after the sitter’s demise or destroyed by the sitter themself, upon later reflection.

I have a fabulous male nude photobooth strip that I found at Euston Station in London about 20 years ago. It is more out-there than just nude and so I have not had the courage to publish it on my blog. I have already shared it privately with two other bloggers. One reply was a vetoe and I am hoping to get another opinion soon…

There are no details given about the location or date for this photo. I do love the expression on both of their faces.

*Joel Rotenberg is a writer and collector of vintage photographs.  ** Mark Glovsky is a dealer in vintage photographs in the USA.

  1. ehpem said:

    It does look recent doesn’t it – from the hairstyle and so on. I think you are right that there must be many more of nude photobooth pictures out there in the world. But, who would keep one of grandma when clearing her stuff out after her death? Only people with a particular vision, and they would not likely share them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mr E. Yes, I certainly wouldn’t share nude pics of a relative of mine. But I also wouldn’t throw them away.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ehpem said:

        And, the not throwing them away part, is probably why all your living relatives with nude photos are rushing to destroy them as they read these comments 🙂 No wonder so few survive.


  2. Meg said:

    How funny! I’ve always wondered about the risky things people do in the Photobooths….

    Liked by 1 person

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