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When I published this strip of photos the other day, the response was very positive. More than one comment suggested the photos would look good as a mini-movie, aka a gif animation. I don’t have the software to do it myself, so I used a free gif-maker web page. I like the result but more experiments with other, longer series of photos might give me more of that mini-movie look I’ve seen elsewhere.

The lady on the left seems more familiar with the photobooth process than her friend, who appears to be struggling with where to look and how to pose. In the last frame the realisation of the absurdity of her cluelessness takes full effect in an outburst of mutual laughter, making a delightful record of shared experience and friendship.

The quality of this strip isn’t great. It has either been left exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period or was not washed properly in the machine during processing. This item came from the USA and appears to date from the 1950s

This 110 x 80 mm photobooth image is probably an enlargement from a standard sized smaller original. Photobooth machines were originally to be found in photographic studios that offered extra services such as framing, hand colouring and enlarging of your strip of pictures.

Being only 6 1/2 years old I imagine Robert Richard Rotowski’s hat was worn only for the sake of this photo. However, given that it fits so well and he is generally so finely dressed, it may have been a hat he wore regularly. I have another hand coloured image of another boy wearing the same type of hat, from the same era. Maybe it was the fashion for kids to dress like their da’s back then?

If anyone can tell me the name of this type of hat, I’d be grateful! Is it a homburg, a trilby or something else?

This is a re-blog of part of a post written by Joel Rotenberg* for House of Mirth, a blog run by Stacy Waldman. Please check out this wonderful vintage photography site.

“Mark Glovsky** pointed out to me that nudity is oddly rare in photobooth portraits, and he is absolutely right. This is the only example I have. I think it’s pretty recent, so maybe it doesn’t even count.

Where is all the photobooth nudity? By rights it should be common. People had every reason to believe they would be the only ones who ever saw what they did in the booths; in this respect photobooths are like Polaroids, which aren’t processed by a lab and—for that very reason, I’ve always thought—are full of sex and nudity. And if you were a certain kind of person, wouldn’t you take the curtained-off booth as a dare?”

I agree with Joel that it is strange that there are not more extant nude photobooth photos. The likely scenario in my mind is that they were/are taken in abundance but discarded by embarrassed relatives, if discovered after the sitter’s demise or destroyed by the sitter themself, upon later reflection.

I have a fabulous male nude photobooth strip that I found at Euston Station in London about 20 years ago. It is more out-there than just nude and so I have not had the courage to publish it on my blog. I have already shared it privately with two other bloggers. One reply was a vetoe and I am hoping to get another opinion soon…

There are no details given about the location or date for this photo. I do love the expression on both of their faces.

*Joel Rotenberg is a writer and collector of vintage photographs.  ** Mark Glovsky is a dealer in vintage photographs in the USA.

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