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.
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.