Monthly Archives: March 2020

A special guest post by Seth Kallen Deitch curator of the Classic Photobooth Group on Facebook –

Emily and Myrtle, I’m not going to say that they *hated* one another, but they had a rivalry and *certainly* were not friends, but to use the word *hate*, well, that just wouldn’t be Christian.

What brought them into contact was the church events committee that they both were on. Christmas, Easter and patriotic pageants, Sunday school outings and church picnics, rummage sales, all of these were the things that drove their little world. One of the big ones was the October Fancy Dress Ball. Their congregation frowned on dressing as monsters, ghosts and other creatures of darkness, but they definitely were not against seasonal fun!

The Fancy Dress Ball was the big adult event of the year, there was a Halloween party for the kids, but the Ball had the bigger budget. The gimmick was that people were paired up to design *each other’s* costumes. In 1955 someone decided that Emily and Myrtle would be paired in this event. Of the two, we can now suppose that it was Myrtle who bore the greater malice. Emily made her the gown of a medieval lady. It was beautiful in every detail. The outfit that Myrtle made for Emily included a fancy hat that she had made around one of her parlor lampshades. Emily never even noticed until her son pointed it out in a photo ten years later.

A slightly damaged, unframed Photomatic photo circa 1950, USA

Dressed identically, these two young women may be sisters, they could even possibly be twins. They both have similar hair, cheekbones, mouths, noses, eyes and even dimples. It is only their chins that make me doubt that they are related. Sisters or not, what would make two adult women wear the same outfits? My theory would be that they are part of a festival or carnival. Their necklaces appear to be made of plastic, a very cheap material in any era. Could they be hostesses at an event and this is their uniform?

I love the way they have posed together with their heads touching, both gazing directly and openly at the camera. It is a happy and intimate portrait.

It is so exciting to go out to my letterbox to discover a photobooth gift from a friend. It happens quite frequently and cheers me up a lot. It also makes me feel more connected to the world, when I am stuck at home so often. This gorgeous image was a gift from my friend Ted Strutz.

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