Polaroid Photobooth


22 September 2000, Melbourne, Victoria

Another of my guide dog puppies, Vinson was adored by all children, but especially by two, Giosue and Francesco. Their adoration of this dog made giving him up more difficult than usual. Telling them that he would no longer be with me when they came to visit, was heart-breaking, such was their devastation at the news.

Vinson graduated and became a fully fledged guide dog. He was sent to Japan where he had to relearn all his commands in Japanese. Unfortunately he was unable to deal with the noise and frantic pace of life in Tokyo, so he was retired. He was adopted by a family from a smaller city, where, I hope, he lived very happily.

These come from my series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here.



8 July 2000, Melbourne, Victoria

This is Grant and I in a rare Polaroid photobooth photo. He was one of my ‘respite care’ guide dog puppies. Being a black dog on a dark background, he isn’t too easy to see, but he was a very handsome boy.

Due to my failing health and the commitments of my business, I was no longer able to raise pups full-time. I took in trainees who had been injured, had had an operation or suffered from some other issue that meant they needed time to rest. Hopefully they would then be fit enough to return to their training.

The day after this photo was taken Grant was ‘decommissioned’ by Guide Dogs Victoria due to an unresolved issue which precluded him from completing his training. I believe he went back to his original puppy raising family.

I have no recollection of the location of this booth, not having made a note of it at the time. However, I suspect it was at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne. There were four photos in the original set.

These come from my series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here.


photobooth03-1999AdamGuideDogEditedMarch 1999,  Melbourne

This is guide dog puppy Adam in his second photobooth shoot. He is one year old in these photos.

Adam would be almost 14 years old, now. He was returned to his family in Tasmania, who had looked after him for the first 10 months of his life. He was found to have elbow dysplasia and was therefore unable to complete his full training, and thus fulfill his role as a working guide dog.

His family were very excited to have him back, so I assume he has lived a good life as a family pet.

This is another polaroid photobooth photo. I have recently discovered that I have more booth polaroids in my collection than I had previously thought. Nevertheless, they are still rare in the world of booth photos.

I have no idea where in Melbourne this photo was taken. Due to the polaroid format, (most of the back is black), I was unable to find the space to write any of the particulars of this day out.

This strip is part of the series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here.


Here is another of the rarer polaroid photobooth photos. Although the quality of the image isn’t great, I like the effect of the faces emerging through the darkened space.

I am betting that this photo belonged to Wesley and that he wrote the names on the front of the photo, misspelling Jaqueline’s. Yeah, typical boy. Yeah, sexist comment. Oh me, oh my.


February 1998, Southland Shopping Centre, Melbourne

Here is my sister Sue, who now lives in Dublin, and me, after a shopping trip to get our nails done and buy cosmetics. Manicures have been very rare in my life, so I am glad I have one commemorated!

This is another Polaroid format photobooth photo. I haven’t seen one of these booths in over 10 years. The little image on the bottom of the Polaroid is from another strip of photobooth stickers from a different outing. I think Sue kept the rest.

This strip is part of the series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here.


This is an unusual polaroid photobooth set. It isn’t in the greatest of conditions but due to its rarity it is worth documenting.

I am not sure if polaroid photobooths still exist. They were certainly never common. This photo is from the USA and has no identifying information. I guess it dates from the 1990s.

May 1995, Hamilton, New Zealand

On any visit to NZ, visiting relations is my first priority. I stayed first with my Aunty Cecilie and Uncle Gregor in Hamilton where their magnificent hospitality was laid on, as usual.  After a few days with them, for the first time in my life, I hired a car to go out and about on my own. Unable to sleep due to nerves and excitement, I took off at 2.30 am one morning to drive to Wanganui to see my mate, Moana. I only managed to complete the journey without an accident, due to three catnaps at various points along the way. Moana and I then did a week-long driving tour of the South Island. We then drove back up north, to Rotorua to meet up with Cecilie and Gregor, where we took advantage of the many thermal bath opportunities on offer.  This visit was the last time I saw my Uncle Gregor, who had inspired my first international travel adventure. He died in May the following year.

I have been to New Zealand many times but this was the first, and so far only time, I ever found a photobooth machine there. Not my favourite type of booth, having only a single shot option, with a polaroid product, but to my mind better than nothing.This was taken in a store on Hamilton’s main shopping street on the 18th of May, 1995.

Aunty Cecilie

Part of my passion for travelling came about at least in part through the fact that my mum’s sister, Cecilie, had moved to New Zealand soon after I was born. She and her husband Gregor made regular visits to Melbourne with my cousin Kristine and later with her younger sister Rachel. I was always incredibly excited that they were coming and immensely envious of their “jet-set” lifestyle, for we never flew anywhere. The free toys my cousins received in-flight were better than anything they might have brought us for presents, their stories of what happened during a flight more riveting than any others and airports were the most exotic of locations, even if you were not the one who got to go on a plane.

During one of their visits to Australia, when I was approaching the age of 15, I remember moaning on to my uncle about the fact we never went to visit them in Hamilton. He was totally unsympathetic. Why should I feel that I needed to wait until my parents had the money to bring the whole family along? He said I should come on my own. Initially I thought he was mad or joking, as I protested that my pocket-money, even if diligently saved wouldn’t be sufficient to get me there until the next century, which was then 23 years away. “Well get a job” he said,”You save up enough for the airfare and we will look after the rest”.

So I did. Three months before I turned 15 I got a weekend job at The Bake-Inn Hot Bread Kitchen in Bentleigh and just days after my 16th birthday, I took all the money I had saved, bought a ticket and flew to New Zealand. Mum and Dad gave me enough to top up my spending money to $100.00 for a one month tour of the North Island with the rellies. I still have my best souvenir, a stuffed toy kiwi made out of possum skin, that was named Rewi by Krissie.

I have lost count of how many times I have since visited Cecilie in New Zealand, my Uncle Gregor now, sadly, deceased. She always encourages me to return and is a very generous and inexhaustible host, always taking me on an adventure to places I’ve not visited previously. We once also met up in the UK to be tourists together and a very happy pair we made, too.

Like my mother and both my grandparents on her side, Cecilie has been a professional musician all her life, having trained as a pianist from her earliest years. She has a wonderfully optimistic outlook which is helped along by another very important passion in her life, which she shares with me and my mum. She is a madly dedicated, dog lover. Having recently bid farewell to one of her much-loved rescue-pooches, Mia, she last week welcomed Ellie the kelpie-cross into her life. It is my dedicated intention to get her and her new baby into a photobooth one day, my Snowy-Dawg having suffered the experience only recently. One has to admit it is not a dog’s favourite of pass-times.

This is an undated Polaroid booth pic taken several years ago, presumably in Hamilton, New Zealand.

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