Subtle Shifts

This strip is another gift from my friend Ted in the USA. Since we met through our respective blogs, Ted has been very generous in his gifts of unique and interesting booth images. I’m so grateful to him and feel a flutter of joy each time I pull out the things he has given me.

Using the clothes and hairstyles as my guide, I would guess these images date to the late 1930s or early 1940s. It is quite unusual to find a strip from this era that has not been cut into individual frames. In the early years after its invention, photobooth machines were mostly situated in shops that offered other photobooth related photography services, such as enlargements, duplicates and framing. The machines were operated by an attendant who directed the poses. Once the photos were developed and dry, they were cut and placed in an envelope for presentation to the customer. There were eight photos to a strip.

You can see that these images have been taken with the help of an operator. There is none of the random squashing-in you see in later photos when the booths were unattended. The three ladies have been carefully directed to their respective positions allowing for no part of their faces to be obscured. In the first two frames the direction was to look left, the next to look right and the final one to look ahead. Whether or not they followed the instructions is another matter! I love the subtlety of the changes in each image, particularly in the eyes. They give the pictures a lovely gentle, and warm atmosphere.

There are some lovely details in the clothing and accessories worn by these three women. The woman on the right has a magnificent brooch in the form of a butterfly or bird wings at her throat. The huge buttons on her jacket look metallic in their shine. Maybe they have a gilt finish? The lady on the left is also wearing a lovely piece of jewellery in the form of a large sparkling pendant along with a matching sparkling hair clip. The ruffled collar of the lady who is sitting in the middle could be hiding some more jewels.

Below are some links to other posts that feature photos of Ted or relate to Ted in some way. Enjoy!

My Friend Ted

Two Old Birds In A Photobooth – A short story by Ted Strutz

Ted’s Photobooth Story – A real life photobooth tale

Three-Time Academy Award Winner In A Photobooth – Another strip from Ted

12 comments
  1. Your analysis is right on Kate. Thanks for explaining the process. I was jazzed when I found that one. Hard to find complete strips. I’m glad to be able to send one that is not just people pulling funny faces, but an old one that tells a story. I think you would probably look pretty cute in an outfit with big brass buttons like that.

    Thanks for linking to my posts and strips. I hope people enjoy. Now, I’d better get busy and get an envelope in the mail. It has a long way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • p.s. I like how it is folded in the middle, which means someone kept it and most likely carried it around in their wallet or purse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thinking you’re good at knowing what I’d like to wear, Ted.

      Yes, it was a great find! It is very, very rare and I’m so thrilled they are mine.

      There were many more links I could’ve added but I thought those were goodies! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps, both the “director” and the group should have been done more rehearsals to get the perfect pose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When the booths were young they were so popular there were queues to use them everywhere. I doubt there was time for that. 😣🙁

      Like

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