Archive

Vintage Photobooth

I found this single photobooth image at the bottom of a box of photos at the closing down sale of a, much loved, local antique centre. It was $1.00 but I would’ve paid much, much more for it. Vintage Australian booth photos are rarer than hen’s teeth, even more so, one that is in such good condition.

There are so many lovely details here, from the sweet beaded necklace worn by one girl, to the rose shaped pendant (or perhaps brooch?) worn by the other. There is an arm affectionately draped over a shoulder, and a hand resting gently on another. Both of the girls have their hair swept to the side, from left to right. There are some typically Australian childhood freckles!

Yet, the loveliest thing for me is the unforced smiles on this pair. Looking directly into the lens with no artificial jollity or pulling of faces, these girls are so happy and comfortable in each other’s presence. Their faces exude friendship.

I marvel at the fact this photo was taken by an automatic camera. I doubt a photographer of long year’s experience could have taken a better portrait of youth. My guess is that it was made in the late 1930s to early 1940s.

I wish I knew the girls’ names and where this photo was taken, but as with so many of my photos, its origin is likely to remain a mystery.

This is a 1920s/early 1930s Photomaton branded postcard of a French photobooth photo. I wish I had the original image to show you, as it would’ve been of a much finer quality.

Our fashion conscious model is shown in one of the guided poses, from a prescribed list used by the Photomaton Corporation. In the early days of photobooth photography, the machines were installed in photography studios and operated by a trained supervisor who made sure you got that perfect shot. The original strips were of eight images. I will share one complete, uncut strip with you soon, that is, if I can find it!

On first glance this young woman looks to be on the pulse of between-the-wars fashion. She has a sharp cut bob and a cloche hat, both so typically stylish and indicative of the era. Yet there is something wrong. This is a fashion fail foto! Nothing matches. There are too many different patterns – geometric, floral, leafy. The large floppy bow is demure and feminine. To me, it works poorly with the tailored jacket and masculine collar of her shirt. Perhaps, without the addition of an artificial flower, she might’ve made this ensemble work?

I love the individual elements she has chosen. The pattern on the bow is chic and the buckle on her hat, a wonderful art deco, stylised, laurel wreath design. But again, there is no blending or matching of her accessories. Less is more, beautiful femme française. Less is more.

I was attracted to this photo as there is a medieval princess look to this young woman’s hat. I’m very fond of portrait paintings from that era. The cone shaped hennin of the period, says royalty above all else and the demure expression on her very attractive face, gives her a regal bearing.

Closer inspection of the image suggests she is wearing a marching girl uniform of some sort, rather than a carnival or party costume. The insignia on the hat certainly suggests she is a member of an organisation or team of some sort.

This is an undated photobooth photo from France. It dates to around the 1940s. Perhaps, if you are more familiar with French culture than I, you might recognise this outfit? Let me know in the comments, if you do.

I am tentatively dipping my toe back in the blogging pool after a long hiatus. To ease myself back in, I’ve chosen the painted backgrounds of the photos, instead of the people, as the focus.

These items are all from the USA and very easily dated to WW2 thanks to the painted battleships in the backdrops. It amuses me that the composition is virtually identical in each of the three examples, yet different enough to suggest they were painted by different artists. So which one was the original design, if any of them? Does this follow the layout of a navy recruitment poster or a propaganda leaflet? Did Fred Nerk, Joe Blogs or Jane Smith come up with the design for his/her photobooth business, only to have it copied, to varying degrees of proficiency, until it spread the length of the country?

 

Paper Soul – Five Haiku by Rose Perez

You’ve nothing to say
In silence, you still taunt me
Quiet mockery

I stare back at you
A frozen smile strains your face
Love’s gone; there’s no trace

Limb by limb, I rip
*Raguel, I call onto thee
Set my vengeance free

Arms, legs, hands, and feet
My ex-lover’s confetti
Scattered piece by piece

You’ve broken my heart
Your paper soul I’ve now cleaved
I tear you from me

*Raguel is known as the Angel of Vengeance.

Rose Perez is the Poet Rummager. She extrudes then moulds the soul of an image, or idea, into thought provoking, emotional and memorable poems. Please visit her blog!

My apologies to Rose for not having acknowledged this piece sooner. It is based on a scrap of a photobooth photo which I found discarded in Melbourne, many years ago. Thank you Rose!

Ravenous

See me as I am

Glutton for your attention

Ravenous woman

 

I love haiku poems and have found the blogging world to be filled with poets using this old Japanese form in exciting ways. I have two particular favourites in this field. Today I share one of them with you.

Rose Perez from Poet Rummager is an artist-collector-poet. Her poetry comes in many forms. They are frequently deeply personal and touching, inspiring and insightful. There is a lot to explore on her blog including audio clips of her reading her poems, art of her own making, art from others and collaborations.

A short time ago I asked Rose if she would like to use one my photos as inspiration for some of her work. I was really thrilled when she said yes. I think the piece, above, captures the dynamic in this photo. It makes me chuckle, though without the photo, the poem has a different, more dramatic tone. It stands on its own.

Please visit Rose’s blog to read and see more, at the links above, or here.

%d bloggers like this: