Vintage Photobooth

Above are two beautiful young ladies, most probably sisters, posing on a day out with an unseen grown-up. If the collars are anything to go by, they look to be wearing the same style of white shirt. The younger child, in front, is wearing a hand knitted cardigan over the untucked shirt and her sister is wearing what looks to be a velvet jacket with a very fine line of nice shiny buttons.

Below, on a different day the elder girl again poses in a photobooth. This time she is holding up a sign. I love the slightly quizzical look on her face as she looks directly at the camera, with a slight downward tilt of her head. I am looking for help from my German speaking readers, as I have no idea what is written on the chalk slate she is holding. Maybe the language isn’t German at all? It could be a school photo but with no date on it, I doubt it. Or could it be commemorating a first day at school? If so, and if this is indeed a German photo, I would have expected her to be holding a schultüte (school cone). You can see a schultüte and read about what they are at this link.

So to my German friends, I would be very grateful if you could tell me whatever you can about these pictures.

All the photos date to around the 1930s.

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

When I first saw this strip I thought it must’ve been a mock-up for a film or advertisement. Surely these two gals couldn’t be for real? Mustn’t this strip of images be a confection made by a jaded advertising man or a prop from a bad taste buddy movie? Once I had the strip in my hand I could see it was genuine. I also found other photobooth photos online from the same venue.

These women fulfill all the bad girl stereotypes – too much makeup, too many tattoos, too many rings, too little clothing, smoking, boozing, bleaching, artificially augmented lips – oh my god I adore them! The pièce de résistance is the cast on the brunette’s arm. Happily her wrist is not too sore to allow her to chug on a bottle of beer. If it had been, we wouldn’t have seen it, as in the strip below. A flash of tattooed thigh isn’t something you generally see in a photobooth either. Another big tick, thanks ladies!

Please scroll down for more. Sadly I don’t own the other strip of the same girls.

The strips were taken at the Cha Cha Lounge in Los Angeles. Below are two of the (less impressive strips) I found on social media.

Friday is a happy day for most, it being the last day of the working week and all, so I thought I’d share a bit of joy for you to take with you on your weekend. Here we have Maniac Girl with a Large Earring. I can imagine she was taking some photos for use with an identity card or passport and decided to make the last one a mad souvenir.

I found this unusual square format photobooth photo somewhere in the UK in 1992. Unfortunately I didn’t make any note of the location of the find. On the back it is signed and dated in magenta ink and reads 12/6/92 (12 June 1992). The name could be Mon B but that is a wild guess. What a shame that it was lost! What fun that I found it!

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