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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 undated half strip of a dad posing with his son, has been in the wars. It is damaged, dirty and poorly developed but the characters depicted are funny and loveable. The man’s moustache puts these photos squarely in the 1970s. That assertion is further backed up by his lovely mullet hairstyle and disco-guy fashion sense.

This boy isn’t half as good as his pa at pulling silly faces, but he is giving it his best, given the vagaries of the timing of each flash.

The type of facial topiary his dad sports, is commonly known, in the dubious circles in which I move, as a porn star ‘tache. And yet, combined with the white top, with striped feature on the v-neck, I prefer to think of it as a cricketer ‘tache. Some famous Australian cricketers who favoured this droopy style of fuzz in the 70s are –

Max Walker

Ian Chappell

Rodney Marsh

Please note the (minor) similarity of style of the cricketing jumpers, to the top worn by our man in the booth pic. Sometimes my imagination doesn’t quite match the reality of things.

These photos come from the USA, but they should have come from Australia.

photoboothAndrewsEmporium02

I present to you a very rare thing! This is a mid-1920s photobooth photo from Sydney. It is now sadly faded. It depicts an elegant young woman of reasonable means. Her hat is not elaborate and her necklace is costume jewellery at best, but her coat’s large fur collar (it is difficult to tell if the whole coat is of fur) suggests she had access to more than an average amount of income for an Australian in the 20s.

So why is this photo rare? We are definitely a wealthy nation, but relative to the USA of this period, we had less disposable income to spend on luxuries such as photobooth photos, as cheap as they were. Not being blessed with a large population even now, photobooths did not proliferate as they did in North America, so the opportunity to use them was limited. Neither did we use the booths for photo identification, as so many other countries did. We also have a tendency to keep old photos within families or if they are no longer wanted, dispose of them via the public rubbish collection, (oh, horror of horrors!) rather than selling them online or to collectables shops.

This is the first of only two vintage Australian Photomaton images that I have in my collection. It was a gift from Andrew Fildes of Andrew’s Antipodean Photographic Emporium, who kept it especially for me. Thanks Andrew!

photoboothAndrewsEmporium

photobooth 1

 

photobooth22:12:1999

22 December 1999, Kilkenny, Ireland

I celebrated my birthday that year with a night in Kilkenny and a visit to its famous castle. It was a surprise to find a working photobooth located at McDonagh Station, as Kilkenny is a small town and Ireland has never been awash with them.

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

 

photobooth09:12:1999

9 December 1999, Oxford Circus Tube Station, London

This poorly developed colour strip of photos shows me wind swept and cold on a typical London December day. I am holding a Tube travel pass I still had from 1988. (See below). I was visiting friends in London on my way to seeing my sister in Dublin to celebrate my eight month old nephew’s first Christmas.

Travel Card 1988

Travel Card 1988

photoboothJanuary1988

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

photoboothEarly12:1999

Early December 1999, Wellington, New Zealand

The only photobooth I was able to find on this trip to visit my travelling buddy Moana in Wellington, was a sticker booth in a game arcade.

I stopped in New Zealand on my way to visit friends in London before going to Dublin to spend Christmas with my sister and her Irish relatives. She and her husband Tim had decided not to make their home in Australia and had returned to live in Ireland where they had first met. They live there to this day.

Moana was working most of my visit and I only managed to get her husband Mark, into the booth. While not my preferred type of photobooth, in the event of nothing better, it is a least a cute souvenir of a trip. To see some previous posts and booth photos of Moana and I together, click here, here and here.

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

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