The Kills are an indie rock band formed by American singer Alison Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie Hince. They used photobooth photos to promote their albums and concerts for many years. The collection they present on their website, here, is extensive and fun for a lover of booth photos to explore.
The sleeve of their début EP (2002), Black Rooster, (below) featured manipulated photos of Mosshart and Hince taken in a photobooth.
Their second single, Fried My Little Brains (below), from their first album also featured a photobooth photo for the cover art.
With not a clue in the world what the band sounded like, I took a punt and purchased their début album (below) Keep on Your Mean Side (2003) from which the above single was taken. I thought that if I didn’t like the music, the cover would be a nice addition to my photobooth ephemera collection. I loved it on the first listening. I was very happy that their music rocked as much as their obsession with photobooths!
POST SCRIPT – Since writing this post a fortnight ago, I have bought a second album, Midnight Boom (2008). I love this band!
Organisers for this year’s convention include Tim Garrett, Brian Meacham, Anthony Vizzari and Meags Fitzgerald, whose new book I recently reviewed.
Details of the programme are below. There’s a good balance of events for photobooth artists, technicians, vintage photo collectors and for the general public. All are welcome to attend. It kills me that I won’t be there!!!
This photobooth is, in essence, a giant outdoor advertisement for McDonalds “Come As You Are” promotional campaign. Photomaton is the original company name for many of the world’s photobooths and is the generic term for the booths in France and other European countries.
The interactive booth is situated at La Defense in Paris. The “Come As You Are” campaign focuses on the values of diversity, acceptance and the spirit of hospitality. The booth has a touch interface which offers the public an opportunity to take pictures that are integrated directly into the campaign visuals on a giant screen. As you can see from the video, the participant receives a large printout of their photo from the booth and can also receive the picture via email.
The video was only posted 24 hours ago on the production company’s Vimeo page, so it is possible it is still up and running. Any readers in Paris able to pop over and check it out? Let me know what you find.
Tattered and Lost Vernacular Photography blog is run anonymously by an imaginative, dedicated blogger, who also publishes books on vernacular photography. There is an element of fun in most of the posts, a lot of social history and some melancholia. Through keen observations and sometimes, lateral thinking, the commentaries on each photo reveals something more about American life, past and present, than might have been clear at first glance.
Evidence of the author’s vital imagination oozes from this blog, no more so than in the Time Travelling Celebrity category, which recently featured a photobooth photo of a gentlemen who very closely resembles the British actor Alan Cummings. (Click here to see original post). The author supposes that Alan has slipped into a time machine and whizzed back to 1940s USA, recording the adventure in the photo, above.
I love the concept of this series. In my mind there is a connection between a photobooth and Doctor Who’s TARDIS. They are of similar size and form and one can enter into each and then close out the rest of time and space. They are both “bigger on the inside” – one’s intentions and imagination creating the illusion of this, in the case of the photobooth. Finally they are both vehicles of time travel. The TARDIS can travel infinite distances through space and time. Photobooths work more slowly, sealing a fragment of time on paper, a moment that moves with the rest of us at a minute at a time, hour by hour, day by day. (See my photos in the category Photobooth Time Machines).
Below are two more notable examples. I hope you will visit Tattered and Lost Vernacular Photography and enjoy exploring what you find there.
Following a high level of interest in my last post about the above item, particularly with reference to the asking price, I thought I would share with you some thoughts from the seller himself, Mr Albert Tanquero of Broken Heart Gallery, Chicago. Not only is Albert the seller of many of the most highly desirable photobooth photos you can find online, but his customer service is second to none, with every photo arriving with a hand printed card and hand written personalised note.
Hi guys. I’m the seller of this photobooth photo. I bought it for a considerable price at a NYC photo show. If it sells for the starting price of US $399.99, I will be able to make a reasonable profit from that one photo. To give you perspective on how expensive it is to try to sell amazing images, I will share some of the travel costs incurred to find my photos and expenses related to fees on Ebay and Paypal.
Some time ago, I flew from Chicago to New York City and paid for two nights in a hotel to be able to attend one of the best vernacular photography shows in the USA. My flight cost me US $450.00, a room for two nights was US $500 and the entrance to the show was US $30. Additionally there was the cost of the cabs to and from the airport, US $160. Of course there is also the cost of meals, buses and trains, etc. Add all that up and that’s a high outlay just to get to the show.
When photos on eBay are listed for what might appear to be outrageous sums, it is frequently because the cost of obtaining the item was very, very high. If I had bought this photo at a flea market for a dollar it would have been listed for US$ 5.99. (See examples of other current listings, below, which have that starting price).
So what does it cost to sell the photo? Between eBay and paypal (which eBay owns) 15-18% of a sale is taken in commission. So say the clown photo sells for US $399.99. I have to spend to up to US $72.00 just to sell it. I will also accept checks as payment (cutting out the Paypal part of the fee) but that creates more work as I have to go to the bank and then wait for it to clear. I don’t want to make it seem like there aren’t times I sell $1.00 photos for $30.00. It happens, but good photos have gotten much harder to find. That’s the problem I guess. So for me the photo shows have become one of the few places I can still buy quality images but at a much higher cost.
Another consideration is that, when I sell on eBay I’m providing a curated experience. My time sorting through hundreds of inferior photos, my skill, and my eye are valuable parts of the equation. No one selling snapshots on eBay is getting rich. We do it because it’s a great way to connect lost photos with artists, collectors, enthusiasts.
And one last point…images like this one are used in blogs and other sites online for free, and generally without permission. Not everyone who blogs about my photos actually buys them, like Katherine (mostly) does. Everyone that comes into visual contact with images, that I worked very hard to find, get to enjoy them for free. Why wouldn’t I ask a lot of money for things that are expensive to obtain?
I really appreciate you thinking about the seller’s side of the story.