Reblogged Photobooth

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).

colorful Lil_tattererdandlost

There are more photobooth photos to be found on the blog, like the one above, and there are many more to be found in the archive link, here.

Below are two more notable examples. I hope you will visit Tattered and Lost Vernacular Photography and enjoy exploring  what you find there.

young love_tatteredandlost

mellow yellow_tatteredandlost

Through this blog I have come across other photobooth enthusiasts who share their photos online.

Meg from Denver, Colorado lives in France. At her blog De Quelle Planète Est-Tu? (What planet are you from?) she blogs about her travels and her life in Paris. She is very fond of automatic photo machines.

Below is a selection of some of the great photos from her archive of photobooth related posts, which you can see in full by clicking here.

Many thanks to Meg for permission to share these.


This is a re-blog of part of a post written by Joel Rotenberg* for House of Mirth, a blog run by Stacy Waldman. Please check out this wonderful vintage photography site.

“Mark Glovsky** pointed out to me that nudity is oddly rare in photobooth portraits, and he is absolutely right. This is the only example I have. I think it’s pretty recent, so maybe it doesn’t even count.

Where is all the photobooth nudity? By rights it should be common. People had every reason to believe they would be the only ones who ever saw what they did in the booths; in this respect photobooths are like Polaroids, which aren’t processed by a lab and—for that very reason, I’ve always thought—are full of sex and nudity. And if you were a certain kind of person, wouldn’t you take the curtained-off booth as a dare?”

I agree with Joel that it is strange that there are not more extant nude photobooth photos. The likely scenario in my mind is that they were/are taken in abundance but discarded by embarrassed relatives, if discovered after the sitter’s demise or destroyed by the sitter themself, upon later reflection.

I have a fabulous male nude photobooth strip that I found at Euston Station in London about 20 years ago. It is more out-there than just nude and so I have not had the courage to publish it on my blog. I have already shared it privately with two other bloggers. One reply was a vetoe and I am hoping to get another opinion soon…

There are no details given about the location or date for this photo. I do love the expression on both of their faces.

*Joel Rotenberg is a writer and collector of vintage photographs.  ** Mark Glovsky is a dealer in vintage photographs in the USA.

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