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I made these strips in my favourite photobooth in Melbourne some months ago. I so rarely get to either of the two remaining chemical booths in Melbourne, that I need to take the opportunity to get festive when the occasion arises.

Last year I was only able to get to a colour digital booth. Black and white is more suited to the Day of the Dead of course, so I was glad I planned ahead.

My skeletal friend disappeared into the background of one or two of the pics, so I added a light smattering of permanent marker to make sure you knew he was there!

Happy Halloween to you all!

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Above is a slightly strange portrait of a young man in a photobooth. There is a lot we can guess about why the sitter chose such a lunatic expression for the photo, if we look at another from the same strip, that was once glued into a notebook.

The collage came to me the way you see it, here.

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It did not take me long to find out that the man in the triangular hat is Aleister Crowley. Mr Crowley was, amongst many other things, the founder of the religion and philosophy of Thelema. He identified himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century.

On Crowley’s hat is emblazoned the Eye of Providence (or the all-seeing eye of God). Most frequently the symbol shows a realistic depiction of an eye often surrounded by rays of light and usually enclosed by a triangle. It represents the eye of God watching over mankind (or divine providence).

In the case of Crowley’s organisation the eye is depicted as the ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus in the mistaken belief that the symbol dates back to Pharaonic times.

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One of hundreds of different versions of the Eye of Providence

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Aleister Crowley

Aspects of the counter culture of the 1960s is said to have been inspired by some of Crowley’s writings and beliefs. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa were all known to have been interested in, if not influenced by him. Rightly or wrongly Crowley has been associated with Satanism and Black Magick.

And all this is leading me back to my photobooth man and his wild staring eyes. He may have been a devotee of Crowley and a Thelemite. He may have been a Satanist dabbling in the black arts. Or did he see himself as a possessor of rare vision, a man with an all-seeing eye?

He may have been looking to associate himself with the counter-culture image of rock idols of the late 1960s or early 1970s, or perhaps, he was just a very scary guy with a penchant for crayons and scissors. We will never know, but I do so love these pieces of vintage ephemera!

And just in case you’ve already forgotten that spaced out look, here is our possible acolyte once again. Sleep well tonight!

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