USA, early 1970s
In this strip of photos, on a first glance, it looks like an older girl is trying to corrupt a younger one. That is until you see that, if anything, the younger girl is doing the corrupting. In reality, despite the tie-less, pigtailed, schoolgirl look of the lass on the left, these two are probably the same age and well past the stage where smoking could be deemed to be quite so “naughty”. I’d say they were both in their twenties, or do you think they are younger than that?
If it were not for the fact that the cigarette is so perfectly formed and obviously not a hand rolled one, I’d think they were indulging in a joint, rather than a ciggie. I love the fact that the act of sharing a fag in a photobooth is so amusing to them both. And using a cigarette holder? How sophisticated, (or not!). I feel like the mirth is such that there must’ve been a reason for it. Could it have been induced by the fact they swiped the holder from a pretentious employer or older relative?
The way the girl on the right is blowing smoke directly at the camera, in the second shot, is nicely caught and the look of glee on both their faces makes me want to join in with the gag.
Isn’t the girl on the right stunningly beautiful, and all the more so for her beaming smile?
This was an incredibly generous gift from my friend Ted. He has sent me some magnificent strips over the past few years. This one surpasses them all! Thanks again, Ted!
One of the more exciting, and for me, unexpected aspects of being a blogger is the amount of enthusiasm and generosity that comes to my inbox out of the blue and from all around the world. I have recently started following a blog by Ted Strutz of Friday Harbor, Washington State in the San Juan Islands, USA. The blog is called TedBook and has some very amusing conversational short stories that I encourage you to check out. Ted emailed me the above photos and the following history a couple of days ago –
When I lived in Chicago in the 80’s and early 90’s, there was a bar called the Rainbow Club. It was quite large with a big horseshoe shaped bar, booths, tables and a stage, maybe a dance floor. They played 33 LPs on a phonograph. Kind of an artsy place. There was a photo booth as well. It was very popular, and I would imagine they made almost as much money off that thing as the booze. I think it was a buck. I’m sure they have quite a few strips that were left behind. It was a lot of fun. Of course that was one of the first places we took out of town visitors.
Anyway… I guess it was 1988 or so when an old girlfriend came from Sacramento to Chicago to visit me. I had been there for two years, and although she was ‘the one who got away’ we had stayed friends. I took her to the Rainbow Club, as it was close to the Wicker Park neighborhood where I lived and a fun place to go. My daughter and her friends hung out there a lot, and that’s how I was introduced to the place. I didn’t go there that often, except when people came to visit so we could do the photo booth. It is interesting to look at people in these strips and how they react to what the other person in the booth does. It’s kind of a mini play sometimes.
We had a good time on her visit, and I eventually introduced her to a friend in Sacramento who she would later marry. They had two kids and are still married. I was a good matchmaker. Interesting to note there are two backgrounds… one with photo strips, it looks like, maybe to show people how to use it, and a curtain. My other strips all have the curtain. I would say that the first one we did is the one without the curtain. For that reason, and in the first photo Cheryl is posing with her reflection as it was the first thing she saw. She always did ‘duck lips’ when looking in a mirror and my two tiny daughters would copy her when looking in a mirror. They still laugh and talk about her when they do it now. The bottom of one of the strips has the corner torn off. Those were fun times.
When I saw your blog, it reminded me of that time and I went and found them. I have 7 of them and a strip of my daughters when they were little kids… they are in their 40’s now. The last time I was in a photo booth, was with my mother about 5 years ago shortly before she died at 90. We had gone to the movies and she wanted to do it so she would have a picture of us two together.
Thanks so much, Ted, for sharing your photobooth memories and your photos. Thanks to Cheryl, too.