Monthly Archives: July 2015


My own piece of photobooth small town noir.

I don’t normally publicise books about mugshots on this blog but as a minor part of my collection, they hold a level of fascination for me in much the same way as photobooth photos.


For some time now, I have been an avid follower of Small Town Noir a mugshot blog by Diarmid Mogg. Since 2009, Diarmid has collected over 1,500 mugshots, all from the same small American town, New Castle, Pennsylvania. His collection is an extraordinary set of photographs covering the middle of the 20th century, from 1930 to 1960.

Meticulous research goes into each post which shows the original police mugshot, often accompanied by newspaper clippings, birth and death records plus details of the alleged crime. Anything that can be discovered about the life of the person beyond the day of their incarceration is also included. If you love to time travel through photographs, are interested in vernacular American history or just love a good yarn, this is a blog for you. Hopefully, very soon, it will be a book for you, too.

Diarmid has for a long time wanted to pursue a published hard copy edition of his work. He has teamed up with an innovative publishing company called Unbound, which uses a crowd funding model to


produce books by proving that there’s a demand for them before the publication process starts. Diarmid continues the story –

“We’ve worked together on a proposed outline for the book, which is exactly what I’d dreamed about: 150 full-page photographs on good paper, with 70,000 words of text; the pictures arranged chronologically from 1930 to 1960, so the passage of time is evident as you flick past changing hairstyles, fashions and types of photographic film stock; with the stories building up one after the other into a fractured portrait of a particular place and time that there’s really no other way to access.”

If enough people pledge to buy the book, he can do this, so please get behind this wonderful project by clicking on this link to make it happen:

My apologies for the last post which was accidentally sent due to my inexperience with using WordPress on my iPad. Hopefully now that I am back on my desk-top, I will be more successful.


Cover of the book, Les Matons

On 19 June 1988 in a photobooth at a Barcelona railway station, ​​artists Hélène Fabre and Christian Bonifas made a series of souvenir photos without thinking further than the pleasure of the moment.

Once home in Nîmes, having been amused by their holiday mementos, they sought out another station hall booth. So began their long infatuation with automatic photography.

After twenty-five years and more than 1500 portraits they still haunt these mini studios to capture their moods, movements and ideas.

Since 1989, under the pseudonym Les Matons they have exhibited these portraits as enlarged color photocopies.

In 2007, they published their first book, a self-titled paperback showcasing a selection of one hundred booth photographs in black & white and colour. (See cover and sample images from the book, above). With accompanying texts by Clotilde Augot, Rémy Leboissetier, Christine Rodes and Bertrand Guery and a song by Frederic Inigo, it is an ode to the Photomaton machine and the variety of creative uses to which it can be put.

Over 136 pages Hélène and Christian dress-up for, laugh, grimace, writhe and twist through fun and surprising poses that are delightfully entrancing. The artistic perspective of these two performers fills every frame.

In 2013, they released a new book, “Small Nature” which presents sixty-four new photobooth pictures. I will write more about Les Matons and show you some images from that book in a later post.

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