Tag Archives: photomaton

Found, Luna Park 08/09/1996

Another found photo from the 90’s. I find these pics extremely amusing. There is something of Frankenstein’s monster in the lobotomised head I have had to “stitch” back on and in the stunned-mullet, slow-brained look on the face of this sitter.  One must say that he and his friend were not the brightest of individuals, having missed most of the flashes before sitting down to pose.

I never found the final photo that looks like it may have actually worked, but that was okay, for I had plenty of fun with the other remnants.

My Fotobooth Frankenstein


9 October 1999, Melbourne

This is seven month old guide-dog puppy, Charlie. He was my pride and joy for twelve months when I was his puppy-raiser. He was a very diligent worker. He became a professional dog after graduating with flying colours from his full training at Guide Dogs Victoria.

Charlie became a lifeline for a lovely woman whose eyesight had deteriorated rapidly in the years leading up to her application for a guide-dog. I imagine he would be well and truly retired by now, if not already in doggy heaven.

Although not recorded on the back of the strip, this was most likely taken in one of the Flinders Street photobooths, as I made every effort to get Charlie into town regularly for his socialisation and traffic training.

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.


The Kills are an indie rock band formed by American singer Alison Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie Hince. They used photobooth photos to promote their albums and concerts for many years. The collection they present on their website, here, is extensive and fun for a lover of booth photos to explore.


The sleeve of their début EP (2002), Black Rooster, (below) featured manipulated photos of Mosshart and Hince taken in a photobooth.


Their second single,  Fried My Little Brains (below), from their first album also featured a photobooth photo for the cover art.


With not a clue in the world what the band sounded like, I took a punt and purchased their début album (below) Keep on Your Mean Side (2003) from which the above single was taken. I thought that if I didn’t like the music, the cover would be a nice addition to my photobooth ephemera collection. I loved it on the first listening. I was very happy that their music rocked as much as their obsession with photobooths!

POST SCRIPT – Since writing this post a fortnight ago, I have bought a second album, Midnight Boom (2008). I love this band!

photoboothTheKillsAlbumCover Keep on your mean side

Please scroll down for more photos after the article.
photoboothDad&PatFrontCyrilAstor photoboothDad&PatInsideCyrilAstor

Cyril Astor ran a photography business that was exclusively dedicated to photobooths. In partnership with a Mr Leach, Cyril hired out booths to tourist venues and special events,as well as having a number of booths in permanent locations. The business no longer exists but was located on Cefndy Road Industrial Estate in Rhyl in the county of Denbighshire in North Wales. Rhyl is a seaside resort town and an ideal place for booths that supported the local tourist industry.


Inscribed on the back “To Mother From Edwin”

I was unable to find a record of when the business started but his booths were used at the Cardiff venue for the Festival of Britain in 1951, so the business was in operation at that time. In 1972 the business still existed when Irish lass, 20 year old Patsy Furber worked there. I am very grateful to Patsy for her help in my research for this post.

Patsy has shared some of her personal memories of Cyril’s business with me –

“The managing director was a Mr. Leach, the manager was Gwyn. Mr. Leach’s secretary was Cathy and the telephonist and office worker was Nerys. I was a shorthand typist and part of my job was to type order forms for the chemicals they needed for the booths.

I liked working for Cyril Astor’s business in the beginning but left with extremely bad feelings. I come from Belfast, Ireland and I am afraid I fell foul of political bullying caused by misinformation given by the Special Branch Police in Wales.

I really did enjoy myself at Astors but felt it very unfortunate that things turned out the way they did.  Unfortunately, it was the political atmosphere at the time. It was a thing a good many Irish in Britain had to endure….”

Mr Astor had booths in Margate (UK), Ramsgate (UK) and Rhyl in Wales. One of the prime spots for his booths was on the ‘Great Orme’ in Llandudno in Wales. Without Patsy’s help, it was difficult to find information about Cyril’s business but I did find that he was an exhibitor at a trade fair at Alexandra Palace which was advertised in Billboard magazine on the 26 November, 1966. Presumably this event promoted his booths for hire.

photoboothCyrilAstor copy

In addition to being a photographer, Cyril was an inventor. He made a patent application in 1966. The Patent Index says that he applied for patents to make improvements to the Photomaton machine in the early 1960s.

“Abstract of GB962798 962,798. Rollerways. CYRIL ASTOR PHOTOMATON (LONDON) Ltd. March 2, 1962 [Dec. 16, 1960], No. 43458/60. Heading B8A. [Also in Division G2] Film is conveyed through a processing tank by a plurality of vertically-spaced sets of rollers, each set being individual…”

On the back of each of the cardboard photo frames it says, “Photographer: Cyril Astor. You can obtain three beautiful postcard sized enlargements by sending this photograph with name and address to Cyril Astor, 28, North Drive, Rhyl, North Wales. Together with postal order valued 5/-. It is never too late to send and you get this photo back.”  Of course it is too late now, despite the claim, but it does make me think there could be some fabulous photobooth postcard gems out there to be discovered!



Printed on the backs of the father and daughter pair (above) is Cyril’s standard advertisement.


photoboothCyrilAstorRamsgateFront photoboothCyrilAstorRamsgateBack



6 June 1999, Chadstone, Melbourne

This is me with my six week old nephew, Calvin and my sister, Sue. It is a coincidence that this photo was taken exactly 15 years ago today. Well almost. I was actually going to publish it on the 7th of June (tomorrow) until I noticed that I was writing the post so close its anniversary. Needless to say, Calvin is now a strapping lad of fifteen who is getting up to all the kinds of mischief a 15 year old should.

This was taken at Chadstone Shopping Centre where there was once a black and white chemical photobooth, which is sorely missed. You can see an earlier photo of Sue and her son in a photobooth here.

This strip of photos is from my series Photobooth 41 Year Project which documents my life from the age of 11, through photobooth photos. You can see all the posts in the series by clicking here.

photobooth12:05:1999 1

12 May 1999, Melbourne

I took this strip of photos after a meeting at the greeting card company John Sands. I was still running my own greeting card publishing business but my health was beginning to fail. I was looking for options outside self-employment but still within the industry. I am not entirely sure what I expected of the meeting but nothing eventuated from it.

I imagine this was taken in one of the Flinders Street photobooths but as I made no record of the location, I cannot be sure.

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


The International Photobooth Convention presented by premier photobooth website, will be held at A&A Studios in Chicago soon. It runs from , June 6-8, 2014.

Organisers for this year’s convention include Tim Garrett, Brian Meacham, Anthony Vizzari and Meags Fitzgerald, whose new book I recently reviewed.

Details of the programme are below. There’s a good balance of events for photobooth artists, technicians, vintage photo collectors and for the general public. All are welcome to attend. It kills me that I won’t be there!!!


This photobooth is, in essence, a giant outdoor advertisement for McDonalds “Come As You Are” promotional campaign. Photomaton is the original company name for many of the world’s photobooths and is the generic term for the booths in France and other European countries.

The interactive booth is situated at La Defense in Paris. The  “Come As You Are” campaign focuses on the values ​​of diversity, acceptance and the spirit of hospitality. The booth has a touch interface which offers the public an opportunity to take pictures that are integrated directly into the campaign visuals on a giant screen. As you can see from the video, the participant receives a large printout of their photo from the booth and can also receive the picture via email.

The video was only posted 24 hours ago on the production company’s Vimeo page, so it is possible it is still up and running. Any readers in Paris able to pop over and check it out? Let me know what you find.

Cover Image-Photobooth A Biography- WEB

I have been accused by many of being overly obsessed with taking photos in photobooths, having amassed hundreds of strips, taken over a period of 40 years. Some have said my dogged desire to track down and buy books about photobooths, photobooth artists and the history of photobooths is a strange compulsion. However my passion looks more like a passing fancy when one reads of the intense and personal relationship Meags Fitzgerald has with the subject in her newly released, first book Photobooth – A Biography.

In this non-fiction graphic work, Fitzgerald weaves the story of her developing and ultimately all-consuming love for all things related to photobooths, with the history of the invention of the modern chemical machine, its rise in popular use, popular culture, art, and business. The demise, and possible extinction of the once endemic machines is also documented in a staggeringly personal and emotional roller coaster of a story told through illustrations laid out in blend of bande dessinée, manga and modern graphic novel styles.

meags - Nakki Page copy

Her personal journey is expertly woven into and becomes part of the story of Siberian immigrant to the USA, Anatol Josepho’s efforts to invent an automated photography machine, his success, the spread and development of his idea and the fate of the machines. While it is a formal examination of the subject, personal observations and anecdotes written in the style of a travel journal, (for she travelled extensively to do the research for the book) make the work far more interesting than a standard history of any subject could be.

Meags (pronounced “Megs”) has produced richly detailed drawings that highlight her skill as a designer and artist. There is a theatricality in the illustrations, layout and design of the book that shows an influence from her love of improvisation theatre. Her  background in performance theatre is also seen in her photobooth stop-motion films in which she performs.

Sample Pages- Nostaglia2- WEB

She includes interviews with artists, small business owners, technicians, enthusiasts, authors and promoters of all things photobooth, who also have a dedication to using and preserving the machines that use the “dip and dunk” chemical technology. She also documents the many different types of photobooth machines that have existed and their different types of output and looks at the technical side of owning and maintaining a chemical booth.

She communicates a gentle and self-effacing humour about her obsession with photobooths yet, at times, there is a level of despair at the inevitable fate of the machines. The book concludes with a grudging acceptance that she is unable to stem the tide of change, but also with hope that the passion we in the photobooth community have for our subject, will see a different life develop for the machines in the future.

Photobooth – A Biography was published by Conundrum Press, Canada and is available in bookshops worldwide and from online booksellers.

Here are some links to more posts about Meags Fitzgerald on Photobooth Journal.

Authors Portrait- WEB


Before cleaning.

After cleaning.

After cleaning.

This is a large format photobooth photo, before and after cleaning. The process was very unsophisticated (a cotton bud lightly moistened with cold water, used to gently wipe away any residue). It is usually a very safe option, though I knew it was risky on older photos. The image is improved in some ways, worse in others. I wasn’t expecting the emulsion to come away. Whenever I have tried this on other photos, the emulsion remained stable. I didn’t notice it had happened until it was dried and flaking off.

This photo of a charming, smiling elderly woman, has quite a poignant and shocking inscription on the back. ” T***, Sister to Grandma D***. Married an abusive husband, F****.” With such a tranquil, kindly face it is hard to read those words without a profound sense of shock and sadness. I hope she weathered her personal storm as well as her face suggests she might have.

All three names are inscribed in full (including a surname) but as the ladies have names that are very unusual, I thought it best not to publish any of them in case any members of her family are still with us. The photo is undated and came in a large mixed lot of photos from a seller in the USA.

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