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This is a 1920s/early 1930s Photomaton branded postcard of a French photobooth photo. I wish I had the original image to show you, as it would’ve been of a much finer quality.

Our fashion conscious model is shown in one of the guided poses, from a prescribed list used by the Photomaton Corporation. In the early days of photobooth photography, the machines were installed in photography studios and operated by a trained supervisor who made sure you got that perfect shot. The original strips were of eight images. I will share one complete, uncut strip with you soon, that is, if I can find it!

On first glance this young woman looks to be on the pulse of between-the-wars fashion. She has a sharp cut bob and a cloche hat, both so typically stylish and indicative of the era. Yet there is something wrong. This is a fashion fail foto! Nothing matches. There are too many different patterns – geometric, floral, leafy. The large floppy bow is demure and feminine. To me, it works poorly with the tailored jacket and masculine collar of her shirt. Perhaps, without the addition of an artificial flower, she might’ve made this ensemble work?

I love the individual elements she has chosen. The pattern on the bow is chic and the buckle on her hat, a wonderful art deco, stylised, laurel wreath design. But again, there is no blending or matching of her accessories. Less is more, beautiful femme française. Less is more.

I am tentatively dipping my toe back in the blogging pool after a long hiatus. To ease myself back in, I’ve chosen the painted backgrounds of the photos, instead of the people, as the focus.

These items are all from the USA and very easily dated to WW2 thanks to the painted battleships in the backdrops. It amuses me that the composition is virtually identical in each of the three examples, yet different enough to suggest they were painted by different artists. So which one was the original design, if any of them? Does this follow the layout of a navy recruitment poster or a propaganda leaflet? Did Fred Nerk, Joe Blogs or Jane Smith come up with the design for his/her photobooth business, only to have it copied, to varying degrees of proficiency, until it spread the length of the country?

 

photobooth27:10:2002

27 October  2002, Leicester, UK

This photo strip of my Auntie Cecilie and I, was taken at Leicester train station. She was on her way to London to spend time with her daughters Xie and Rachel. I am lucky that people are so accommodating of my photobooth obsession, but the process can be daunting for some. I remember having to prompt Cecilie to change her expression, but didn’t do a great job of it myself!

Many of the photos in this long series are unremarkable. They make up a photographic album of my adult life, which gives me a lot of pleasure as I add each new photo to the collection. I also love the memories they bring back, when I write about them for this blog.

This strip of photos comes from my series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here. I am still adding to this project using mostly digital booths to create the images. The project is now close to entering its 44th year.

 

 

photobooth11:10:2002

11 October  2002, London or Leicester, UK

This photo strip was probably taken at a tube station in London, but could also have been taken in Leicester. Both my cousins from New Zealand were living in the UK at the same time as I lived in Leicestershire.

My cousin Krissie had her son Ryan in London. I like to spell her name Xie for fun, but also as her personality is as bright and enticing as a gift laden Xmas tree. As you can imagine baby Ryan is a strapping lad now. You can see more photos of Xie in this post from 2011, Xie Time Machine.

In my adult life, I think this is the shortest I have ever had my hair. As I was trying to improve my health by ceasing my exposure to the chemicals in hair dye, I asked Xie to cut it for me. This she did one day in a park opposite her flat. This was the second cut done by a hairdresser. Yuk. I like it much better when it is longer and madder.

Many of the photos in this long series are unremarkable. They make up a photographic album of my adult life, which gives me a lot of pleasure as I add each new photo to the collection. I also love the memories they bring back, when I write about them for this blog.

This strip of photos comes from my series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here. I am still adding to this project using mostly digital booths to create the images. The project is now close to entering its 44th year.

 

 

photoboothGermanGentleman02

photoboothGermanGentleman01

I do not own these two striking portraits, unfortunately. These are scans from the website where they were sold. I was taken by the gentleman’s confident and regal bearing, so put in a bid, but lost out at the last moment.

These poses are more suited to a formal studio-composed photographic portrait, than to a five minute snap in a humble photobooth. The images date from the 1930s and were taken in Germany.

My gent is wearing a very well tailored and no doubt fashionable overcoat. His felt hat looks luxurious and expensive. I can just see him flicking the brim upwards, after having positioned the hat at just the right angle, prior to heading out into a bitter winter wind. Around his neck he is wearing what my Grandfather called an opera scarf, probably made of white silk. I imagine his breast-pocket handkerchief also to be white and made of the finest linen. His scarf is covering most of his tie but one can just discern a flattened dot pattern woven into the, doubtless silk, fabric.

He looks to be a well off and important man, who knows that image and demeanour are everything. I wonder why he chose to take these photos? Was his hat or coat new? Did he want to try a photobooth for the first time? It would have been an innovation and novelty in the 30s. No doubt he was very pleased with the results as the photos have been kept in good condition for over 80 years. I am envious of the new owner and hope that they look after the photos so that they last for at least another 80 years.

photobooth21:06:2002

21 June  2002, Leicester, UK

While living in Leicester I made the most of its proximity to London by visiting there as often as I could.

This photo strip was taken at Leicester train station when I was on my way to my cousin Rachel’s home for a fancy dress party. I hasten to add that I was not in costume for this photo strip.

The last photo in this strip is one of my favourites.  I was trying to emulate the reproductions one sees of movie stars’ high school yearbook photos – daft and self-conscious. I think I did it really well.

Many of the photos in this long series are unremarkable. They make up a photographic album of my adult life, which gives me a lot of pleasure as I add each new photo to the collection. I also love the memories they bring back, when I write about them for this blog.

This strip of photos comes from my series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here. I am still adding to this project using mostly digital booths to create the images. The project is now close to entering its 44th year.

 

 

photoboothtoothlessCutie&friend

Here we have two cheeky little misses. The booth chair being too low, makes them appear to be very, very small and almost pixie-like. Adding to that impression is the goofy gap-toothed smile on one and the cute freckles on the other.

With two similarly, badly cut fringes, (“Gee, thanks Ma!”), I would suggest they are sisters. But of course they could be best friends with a penchant for playing hairdresser with mummy’s dressmaking scissors.

This strip is from the USA and probably dates to the late 1960s or early 70s.

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