Monthly Archives: October 2015


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

953x4793x2-1 953x4793x2


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


The Belle of the Ballroom

Above is another beautiful woman who stopped by the in-house photobooth at the Savoy Ballroom to make a souvenir of her evening out. She is glowing with joy, probably having been dancing up a storm to the big band sounds of Andy Kirk’s orchestra.


Andy Kirk

Andrew Dewey Kirk was a jazz saxophonist and tuba player, best known as a bandleader of the Twelve Clouds of Joy. His music was popular during the swing era, and he and his band performed regularly at the Savoy. He died aged 94 in 1992, having given up his musical career in the 1950s to concentrate on other pursuits.


How the band might have looked on the night in 1940 when the top photobooth photo was taken.


Copyright Steve Bannos of Gargantua (With thanks to Steve)

Also from the Savoy Ballroom photobooth, are the above two images, also dated 1940. Again two lovely women who, no doubt, had a passion for music and dancing.




This is not one of my more spectacular photos, however there needs to be a place here for the images for which I have a special feeling. There is a lot of writing on the back of this pic but it has faded so much that all I can make out is To Frances and the possible name of Cecilia, as the sender. She could even be named Cecilie, or even Clara or maybe Cordelia.

I added this photo to my collection as I loved the warmth in this woman’s eyes. Also catching my attention was the none too professional hand-colouring, which makes her hat look more like a washer woman’s head scarf.

I only noticed her jewellery when I scanned the image for this post. Her lapel pin looks like it coud be a coat of arms or crest of some sort. Perhaps it is a membership badge? Her attention-getting neck brooch, with what appear to be dangling pendant-ornaments across the base, is very unusual. It leads me to believe she was a woman of more style than this single photo with its dull colouring might suggest.



25 November 2000, Luna Park, Melbourne

Me and an old school friend, Lisa in a favourite photobooth at Luna Park.

I still love the old black and white booth photos more than any other type. Unfortunately I am afraid that, like this booth and friendship, they will be gone soon.

Below and from the same year, I kept a travelcard celebrating the facade of Luna Park.


This strip of photos comes from my series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here. I am still adding to this project using mostly digital booths to create the images. I am growing more and more fond of these newer booths, despite their lower quality output.


Some weeks ago, fellow blogger from The Netherlands, Ruud Vermeij of Picture Happy Times, a blog with vintage photos of happy people, started sending me scans and information about photobooth images. He is always on the look-out for interesting items for his collection and kindly thought of me when booth photos turned up.

Above is one of my favourites. I adore this young man’s serious, quizzical eyes and gently smiling lips. His tousled curls and grandad cardigan (however not so grandad-ish in the era of this photo) remind me of my curly-haired Grandpa who was, in my memory, rarely ever seen out of a cardy.

The picture was found in a flea market photo album. According to Ruud all the pictures in the album were made in the early 1940s and came from a Belgian family.

Below is another photo of the same lad with a friend. It came from the same album. It was posted in Picture Happy Times under the title The Concept of Friendship. Below the photo is a copy of the text from the post.


Friendship I think is being able of setting your own wishes, ambitions and interests aside for a minute. Friendship I think means being able to accept you will be disappointed and let down every once in a while.  

I’m not good at doing these friend-ish things. And that’s why beside Mrs. PHT I just have one friend and that – you guessed it – is me.

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