USA, 22 May 1928
This battered little photo was taken exactly 90 years ago, today. Marie is a sparky little lady, who is very aware of how to behave in front of a camera. Assuming she was about two years old when this was taken, and that she lived most of her life in the prosperity of the United States, it is possible that she is still alive today. She would be only three years older than my mother and the same age as a wonderful lady named Paddy, with whom I do my pain-management exercise therapy.
I imagine this photo departed its original home by being given to someone close to the family, but not part of it, around the time it was taken. Over the decades the significance of this memento faded from memory as people moved town, or otherwise lost contact, got older or died, thus leading it to being sold in an auction or junk shop.
Here’s hoping that, like my friend Paddy, Marie is hale and hearty and amazing everyone who knows her with her zest for life and wonderful sense of humour.
I’m telling a wee fib about these photos. They were taken in March 1957, but they have always looked New Yearsy to me. There is a lot of love and youthful joie de vivre in the photos, don’t you think? I am quite envious of the young lady’s jacket with the Astrakhan wool collar. I have always wanted an Astrakhan coat!
I wonder if there is any significance to the fez style hat, given the crescent moon and eight pointed star decoration? Given the Groucho Marx style glasses and follicular accoutrements that accompany the hat, I doubt it has any serious connotations. And does our young man have a pierced ear?
Thanks for all the lovely welcome back comments from you all. I’m not yet up to doing very much blog reading just yet, please forgive me. I hope your new year has started well and continues that way as time passes.
This lovely strip of four photobooth photos was taken in the USA, probably around the mid to late 1950s. This strip was a gift from my blogging friend Ted. (Thanks Ted!!) For the past twelve months there have been a lot of photos, which appear to come from this same booth, for sale on Ebay.
Not only is this child photogenic but she is at ease in front of the camera. She has chosen her poses well, including a different one for each image. Or has she chosen them?
When photobooths were first introduced to the world, they were installed in photographic studios that offered a variety of add-on services. These included hand-colouring, enlargements, duplications and framing. The booths were operated by a controller who would guide the sitter through a series of predetermined poses.
By the time these photos were taken, photobooths were mostly automatic, coin operated and situated in department stores, bus and train stations or other places with a good flow of foot traffic. In the photos for sale, which I mentioned above, poses like the ones in this strip are replicated over and over again. They are rarely in a complete series like these, (Thanks again Ted!!) but the frequency of the same poses and their formal style suggests that this booth was still being controlled by an operator in the 1950s.
So where would those operator controlled booths have been? They would have been owner operated and peripatetic. Like the photobooth owned by my photobooth clown, Yo Yo, they would have been at circuses or fairs. They might also have been at special social events such as school proms, adult dances or even fundraisers. So, with her casual shirt and relaxed demeanour I would be very happy to guess that this young lady had her photobooth experience on a day out at a travelling carnival or fun fair.
I have some other photos that might have come from the same or a similar type of booth. I will share them with you soon and you will see further evidence of my theories in the poses and costumes of the sitters.
This is the sixth and final part of a series of photobooth strips of the same American boy. I think he would have been 14 or 15 years old when he sat for these photos.
In this group of snaps, our handsome subject is looking like he is close to getting his man face but is still not quite grown up. Sadly, he has lost his unrestrained joy at making faces for the camera. Maybe he was just concentrating so hard on holding up his friend, that he forgot to smile. Either way, it is the tiny pup that has now become the star of the show. He is a cute little canine, who appears to be a lot more cooperative in the portrait taking stakes than my own pooch, Snowy.
Well before coming to the end of this series, some of my loyal commenters wondered what he might look like now, or where he might be? Unfortunately without a name to add to these photo treasures, it is highly likely we will never know.
To see the other photos of this young man, please click here. And while you are clicking, you could try hitting here to see another long series of photos of a girl called Becky or here to see another girl growing up in a photobooth, Donna.
This is the second in a series of photos of a young American having fun in a photobooth. I think he may have grown up to be an actor, given his love of performing for a camera and the range of faces he came up with in these two strips!
It is easy to imagine his mum or dad standing outside the booth encouraging him to play the fool. It is just as easy to think that they may have chastised him for his behaviour. Having said that, there is always the possibility that he passed the booth on his way to or from school and used his pocket money to make the photos. However, this is the least likely scenario as the photos have all been dated in an adult hand, not to mention that they are in much too fine a condition to have been part of a childhood collection.
This little boy appears in these strips in an outfit very similar to one that my brother wore around the same era. It is very much of its time and thus looks very daggy and dated. I am sorry eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Bowties are not cool.
Sorry Doctor, they aren’t!
This is not my first dog but this pup is his spitting image. His name was Dino and he, unbeknownst to me at the time, was named after Dean Martin for his dark and lustrous hair. Being only 6 or 7 at the time, I assumed he was named after Dino the dinosaur, the family pet from the Flintstones.
Dino was my first love and I was totally bereft when he died whilst we were on holiday one year. We left him with my grandparents, he got out of their back garden and had an unfortunate altercation with a car.
This standard sized photobooth photo is not entirely in focus, but given my current dog’s performance in photobooths, it isn’t too off the mark for a subject generally so wriggly and squirmy.
Update – 4 September 2015. My friend Mike thinks this dog is wearing a toupee. I agree. It is made from Dean Martin’s quiff. Below is a pic of a human wearing a toupee made from dog hair.
This is the type of picture that everyone who collects photobooth photos wants to own and will be willing to pay a high price to get.
The above photo of two young chaps posing with an Imperial box camera, was highly sought after on Ebay. As most often happens, I was unable to compete with more highly cashed up collectors when it went up for auction early last year.
Judging by the black paper background, I think this photo was one from Broken Heart Gallery, the shop of Albert Tanquero who did a guest post for me last month.
It is a standard photobooth print size of 40 x 55 mm.