Monthly Archives: July 2016


This is part four of a series of photobooth strips of the same American boy. I estimate that he would be 12 or 13 in these photos.

There has been a gap of three and a half years from the time the last photos in this group were taken. Our young man is looking more grown up and acting that way. Gone are the crazy faces and comical poses. The photos suggest a growing maturity but happily his inner comedian is still there. You will see what I mean in the next post, as we continue to follow his progression from boyhood to young adulthood.

To see the other photos of this young man, please click here.

1 November 2002, Melbourne Central Shopping Centre

Whilst living in the UK, I briefly returned to Australia to be bridesmaid for my bestie Petrina. We snapped this strip of photos whilst out buying bits and pieces for her special day.

This group 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. The project is now close to entering its 44th year. Could it be the world’s longest photobooth project?



This is part three of a series of photobooth strips of the same little American boy. My estimate is that he would be 9 or ten in these photos.

I wonder if the first strip was deemed unsuccessful, resulting in the second one being taken with a different background and a properly adjusted seat? I like the way the second strip shows a progression from not quite ready, to small smile, to bigger smile, to wide eyed grin. We can still see the cheekiness and spirit on show in previous strips, albeit slightly toned down.

Having been taken on the same day, he is wearing the same lumberjack coat in both strips. Being slow to pick up on fashion trends in those days, this style of boy’s clothing didn’t make it to Australia until the 1970s. It is a trend that is currently being revived in some retail outlets today. Blah! But I digress! It is interesting to me that with a less reflective background, his hair looks much darker and by adjusting the seat he looks older than in the first strip.

To see the other photos in the series, please click here.


This is the second in a series of photos of a young American having fun in a photobooth. I think he may have grown up to be an actor, given his love of performing for a camera and the range of faces he came up with in these two strips!

It is easy to imagine his mum or dad standing outside the booth encouraging him to play the fool. It is just as easy to think that they may have chastised him for his behaviour. Having said that, there is always the possibility that he passed the booth on his way to or from school and used his pocket money to make the photos. However, this is the least likely scenario as the photos have all been dated in an adult hand, not to mention that they are in much too fine a condition to have been part of a childhood collection.

This little boy appears in these strips in an outfit very similar to one that my brother wore around the same era. It is very much of its time and thus looks very daggy and dated. I am sorry eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Bowties are not cool.


Sorry Doctor, they aren’t!


This is the first of a set of eight photobooth strips from the United States. Each of the strips is dated on the front and back. Unfortunately there are no other details recorded.

I imagine this cheeky and handsome young man to be 8 or 9 in this strip, making him around 14 or 15 in the last of them. As you will see as this series progresses, he is not afraid to play the fool in front of the camera, more so in some of the strips than others.

As I have said before, I love a sequence of photobooth photos that show the changes in a person from one year to the next. Booth photos are particularly well suited to watching someone as they grow up or grow older, due to their main focus being on head and shoulders. It is part of the reason I love them so much.


I purchased this half strip of photobooth photos from an online seller based in Serbia. On the back is written Paris 17.12.66.

I was particularly attracted to this strip due to the broad, mirthful smiles on all three sitters but particularly by the  lady on the left’s expressions. I love the way her glance moves towards her friend in the second shot. There is something so cheeky and appealing in her two poses. I love her!

Once again, I also find some sadness in the fact that these photos have been lost to their owner. Death, broken relationships or accidental loss could account for it. The vicissitudes of life sadly toss us about and of course, it is no different for photos.

photoboothCleanFun 2

This type of novelty cutout was often seen in carnival photos throughout much of the twentieth century. More often than not, they were used in an onsite studio setting and printed as snapshots or photo postcards. In photobooth images they are very rare and highly sought after by collectors. This is the only one I have managed to procure in 12 years of shopping for collectables online. It comes from the USA.

A booth, located at a fair or carnival, would have offered a selection of boards from which to choose. The customer would have needed to hold the cutout, carefully positioning it to keep both the caption and themselves in frame. This choice seems slightly dodgy to me, given that the couple appear to be father and daughter, but maybe the woman is older than she appears to be?

The photo was once attached to an album page. There was no known provenance as far as the seller was concerned.


I purchased this French identity card solely due to the wonderful moustache of the sitter. It almost wouldn’t have mattered if it had not even been a photobooth photo, such is my love of his facial, follicular folly.*

So, let me introduce to you Cesar Joseph Henri. I am unable to work out his surname, unfortunately. He was described as being 1.70 metres tall, having an oval face, strong nose and brown eyes. Strangely, his hair is described as grissonant (greying), which seems very polite given that he looks to be well and truly into silver fox territory, and especially strange when they then go on, quite impolitely, to say he has a bad complexion.

Cesar was born in Marseille on 25 September 1873, making him 66 years old when he applied for the card. Marked with the seal of the 4th Arrondisement of Marseille on the 18 December, 1939, one assumes that this city was his lifelong residence.

When it comes to his facial-hair, fashion choices, Cesar looks to have his feet firmly planted in the century in which he was born. His taste for a style of the Victorian era must have been very passé by 1939.

As the title of this post suggests, the size of his moustache makes me think of the elaborate antlers of a mature bull moose. It is known that the size of antlers signals to the female moose, the male’s social standing and breeding abilities. Perhaps, amusingly, this is what our sitter was wanting to project to the female populace of Marseille.


* I just had to throw in the word folly, as fellow blogger Melinda Harvey and I have decided it is a marvellous word that deserves greater quotidian usage. I felt I needed to throw in another of my favourite words, quotidian, just ’cause I could. Please take a look at Melinda’s blog, One Day/One Image, if you love contemporary black and white photography. You will not be disappointed.



Our young man on the right, in 1934. Love those almost identical suits and those hairstyles!

Photoweigh photobooth photos are rare. Between the 1930s and 1970s when the last of these booths disappeared, there appears to have been only a handful scattered across the UK, Germany and France. Although a business called the American Automatic Photoweigh Company Inc. was registered in America, there does not appear to have been any booths operating there.

These English photos from 1934 and 1939, above and below, are even rarer than typical, holiday-souvenir Photoweigh images, as they show the same young man in two close poses with his male friends. There are many photos for sale online which purport to show gay or lesbian lovers. In most instances it is decidedly unclear as to whether the subjects are just pals or in closer relationships. However in this instance, I think it is safe to say the men pictured here are more than just friends.


Again in 1934 but now on the left, in a joyful embrace.

At a time when homosexuality was still criminalised, taking affectionate same sex snapshots to a commercial printer, posed risks to what would have needed to be clandestine relationships. Without access to your own darkroom, photobooths were the only way to commemorate a gay relationship in private and with confidence. Photobooths created images without a tell tale negative or in the case of some Photoweigh machines where a paper negative was supplied with the finished positive, leaving no record in the machine.

Despite the happy and loving nature of these photos, there is a heartbreaking poignancy to them, given the prejudice and suffering endured by the same sex community at the time. The young man who is pictured in all three photos, looks a jolly type. I hope that translated into a fulfilling and happy life despite the obstacles he would have had to face.

You can read more about the history of this type of photobooth here, and see more Photoweigh images here.


Five years later, a solo portrait.

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