Monthly Archives: October 2015


The whole file card, with arty background.

This is Leon Roger in one of a series of file cards from a Parisian acting agency. The photos in the series are all from the 1960s. Each card shows a young actor in their best Hollywood pose, along with their address. The back of this card shows Leon’s height in metres (1.75) and the year of his birth (1936). None of the actors, in the cards I procured, ever made it in the acting profession. The ones that did, were too expensive for me to buy!

There are some great photos in this series, so stay tuned to Photobooth Journal for more updates!


Close-up of the photo of Leon. The imperfection on the surface is caused by glue residue.


Jolly hockey sticks is a humorous British expression used to describe a woman or girl of a high social class who is enthusiastic in a way that annoys most people.

Some further explanations –

Used as an exclamation
(In imitations of speech associated with a type of upper-class English schoolgirl) used to express boisterous enthusiasm or excitement.
“Hurrah and jolly hockey sticks! The Royals are once again out in force for another season of one-day events”

Used as an adjective
Denoting or relating to a woman or girl having a boisterous or hearty manner regarded as characteristic of a type of upper-class English schoolgirl
“I know she’s dreadfully jolly hockey sticks, but she does mean well”

Isn’t she just the epitome of this expression? Can’t you just imagine her off for the hunt with a pip-pip, toodle-ooh, or toodle-pip? She looks to be a terribly, terribly British upper-crust old gel, don’t you know? But by George, by golly and by gosh, it is beastly that this good egg isn’t a Brit at all. Poppycock, I hear you exclaim! And alas it is true. This photo and the sitter come from France.


This type of photobooth vignette was more often reserved for big events such as the Chicago or New York World’s Fairs. Here we have a humble holiday snap turned into an epic day out, courtesy of this screen printed addition to the booth.

I love the sailor, bathing beauty, both in a very 1930s cartoon style, the yacht and beach umbrella, but is that a fuming, smelly oil rig at left? Not quite what I would hope to see at a summer holiday resort. Our sitter, who is identified as Alan, isn’t exactly dressed for a holiday souvenir pic, either.

Can you see the fingerprint on the bottom right of the photo? It excites me to think that after all this time, we may be able to find the full name and details of Alan’s life through this partial print. Except that that would make him a criminal, I guess. Or a spy? Yes, a gentleman spy, most definitely.

The picture is date August 11, 1932 and is of course from the great state of California, USA


In June last year I asked Canadian photopbooth aficionado, Jeff Nachtigall aka Dirk Lancer, if I could share some of his images from his Lomography pages. He said yes. Now, finally, here they are.

Just as here in Australia, chemical booths are disappearing in Canada. Jeff says all the black and white booths have gone and he has heard that the colour ones will be gone within the next year or so.

To see more of Jeff’s work please click here.


Complete series

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Below is another series by Jeff with his explanation about how the series was made.

I took this series in a photobooth in West Edmonton Mall, right beside the waterpark, across from the Antique photo parlour. I used an old bed sheet on my lap and over the floor to catch all the hair, while a friend waited outside, handing me loonies (1 dollar coins). The whole series cost $28 and took just under 1/2 an hour to complete. I learned that you can continue to put in coins and get photos done without waiting for the previous strips to develop, but I’m not sure how far you could push this. Next time, I’m taking a straight razor and a bucket of hot water 😉






To see Mr Topsy Right way up, please scroll down.

When I was a child, we used to go to visit my Grandparents in the Victorian country town of Ballarat. They still lived in the same house in which my father had grown-up . Even after twenty years away from home, his bedroom still contained numerous childhood items, including an early edition of the Australian children’s publication Cole’s Funny Picture Book. Both my elder brother and I adored its quirky pictures, poems, puzzles and funny facts. With lands such as Naughtiness Land, Game Land, Santa Claus Land, Bunny Land, Doggy Land, Boy Land and Girl Land amongst many others, we would be amused for hours.

If you search through the World you will not get a book that will so please a child, if you pay £100 or even £1000 for it. To parents, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, and Friends—Every Good Child should be given one of these Books for being Good. Every Bad Child should be given one to try to make it Good.


First published in 1879 Cole’s Funny Picture Book, was launched with great publicity on Christmas Eve, and was subsequently, a big success . It was still popular with children in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and has had many revival reprints since then.

The above photo, of a man I have named Mr Topsy, so reminded me of one of my favourite parts of one of the three books in the series, that I had to buy it. In Game Land there was a section of picture puzzles that included skillful illustrations in which were hidden various people or objects for which one had to search. There were also topsy-turvy pictures like the one below, which showed a different person when viewed upside down.

Mr Topsy is the image of one of the illustrations I remember and loved so well. Despite searching long and hard to find an online copy of the drawing, (the books have long since disappeared), I was unsuccessful. Even without the picture, maybe you can see in his lined forehead, large eyes, jowly cheeks and rounded face how he could be transformed into one of these ingenious upside down characters?


Photobooth-topsy-turvy-By Rex Whistler (1905-1944)

A later version of a Victorian type Topsy Turvy illustration by Rex Whistler (1905-1944)




I present to you a very rare thing! This is a mid-1920s photobooth photo from Sydney. It is now sadly faded. It depicts an elegant young woman of reasonable means. Her hat is not elaborate and her necklace is costume jewellery at best, but her coat’s large fur collar (it is difficult to tell if the whole coat is of fur) suggests she had access to more than an average amount of income for an Australian in the 20s.

So why is this photo rare? We are definitely a wealthy nation, but relative to the USA of this period, we had less disposable income to spend on luxuries such as photobooth photos, as cheap as they were. Not being blessed with a large population even now, photobooths did not proliferate as they did in North America, so the opportunity to use them was limited. Neither did we use the booths for photo identification, as so many other countries did. We also have a tendency to keep old photos within families or if they are no longer wanted, dispose of them via the public rubbish collection, (oh, horror of horrors!) rather than selling them online or to collectables shops.

This is the first of only two vintage Australian Photomaton images that I have in my collection. It was a gift from Andrew Fildes of Andrew’s Antipodean Photographic Emporium, who kept it especially for me. Thanks Andrew!


photobooth 1


This is a much brighter and more vibrant image, with greater depth to it in real life. Scanning has not captured the essence of the photo and having lost that, it has almost lost the reason I called this post Disco Cowboy.

When looking at the original picture in natural light, the back-lit curtain positively vibrates like a thumping disco beat. The sitter is wearing a shirt that is obviously silk but in the scan it looks more like dull workaday cotton.

With his stylish, clean, white cowboy hat and luxurious mo, he is the very image of The Village People‘s cow-dude, Randy Jones. Only the sideboards and chin stubble break with Randy’s well manicured image. So was he dressed for a night of boogying? I think so.

To me he is definitely an urban cowboy with one foot inching towards the dance floor, one eye on his image and the other on a potential mate.

The photo originated in the USA and came from a bulk lot of undated pics.


Randy Jones – Macho Man

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