Tag Archives: United States

This is Harold who has been separated from an incredible series of photos showing him ageing gracefully from his teen years to late middle age.  These photobooth photos are just a small selection of the series.  You can see the rest by clicking here.

Harold S. Chambers at one time lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was an assistant superintendent of schools in Saginaw for 6 years from 1939 to 1945. He then became a full superintendent in Kelloggsville and later Godwin Heights (until 1953). The above photos were taken in the 1930s, the top three in Detroit and the bottom one on another day, at an unspecified location.

These photos were carefully preserved by Harold, or his wife. What happened to the family and how did these and the other photos get separated from them?

Maybe good, hardworking Harold never married and had no children. He was involved in school surveys that resulted in recommendations for school building construction programmes.  Maybe he is remembered in one of the schools he helped to build? Dapper like my Grandpa, of the same era and with the same curly hair he had, I feel very fond of Mr Chambers. I hope he is remembered fondly by someone other than a day-dreaming stranger.

Listing titles in online sales are often funny, sometimes completely wrong, sometimes overly flattering or in this case, just plain insulting. This poor man was listed as Big Nose. Written on the back is the date, 3rd of August 1939, with the place name Nantacket (sic) which I believe is how the place name Nantucket, is pronounced.

Nantucket is an island 30 miles (48 km) south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the United States. It looks to be a very pretty place for a holiday which means this is possibly a souvenir of a vacation. Big nose or not, this guy has a friendly and appealing face, as does his happy partner.

This little girl’s name is Arline Michlinger. The above photos were taken in the USA on the 10th of January 1938 (top row) and on the 21st of January (bottom row). At the time, Shirley Temple, probably still the most recognisable child star of all time, was at the height of her fame.

There is something about the practiced poses of this young lady that suggests to me that her mother may have had ambitions for her daughter to be a baby star like Shirley.  The pose with hands clasped under the chin is very reminiscent of Shirley (see photo below), as is the one with the cheeky sideways glance.

Here is the same little girl posing with her mama, who is as equally relaxed in front of the camera as her daughter.  They were also taken in 1938, but on the 25th of May. These are the first hand coloured photobooth photos I have bought where there are multiple shots, from the same session, where the clothing colours have not been consistent. I had previously assumed that the colours in the photos represented the true colour of the clothing which was worn on the day.

Shirley Temple

With party hats and cheeky glints in their eyes, this lovely older couple look to me to be celebrating something. Was it the arrival of a new year?  These undated photos were taken in a photomatic photobooth at the Hotel Morton – “Rich in the things that make people happy”- in Atlantic City, USA, probably in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

This photo, the third in the series was also taken at the Hotel Morton, on a different day but, no doubt, on the same visit.

According to the postcard, below, the Hotel Morton was noted for its homelike atmosphere and excellent cuisine. It was centrally located and close to beaches, the Boardwalk and the Steel Pier. The hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Atlantic County, New Jersey on July 15, 1977 and then inexplicably demolished  around 1985.  The site is now occupied by the Trump Taj Mahal, a casino. Ah, progress!

Hotel Morton Circa 1945

Printing on the back of each photo.

Meet Mike Fiveson and his family. I have never met Mr Fiveson but I think I would like him very much. He replies with care and frankness to all the comments made on his blog. He answers emails, makes kind offers and fulfills his promises.

These photos represent a snapshot of Mike’s life from the early 1970s to mid 1980s. He is pictured with his wife, Judy and son, Matt. Fabulously, in January, Judy and Mike will be celebrating 41 years of married life.

Mike has a heartfelt and sometimes very touching blog. Located in the USA he tells tales of his daily life and travels, his past and present.  A mutual interest in photography helped to spark our friendship. How I love the internet!

Mike writes, “There is one  picture of me in 1972 when, after serving in the navy for 4 years, I grew my hair some. The strip with Matt was taken in maybe 1984 because he looks to be about 5 or 6. The ones with just Judy and I go back to the 70’s, before Matt was born.”

One member of Mike’s family is missing from these photobooth souvenirs. One day, I hope a certain Golden Retriever named Pumpkin will sneak into a booth, email me some scans and complete the story!

Check out Mike’s blog here.

This photomatic photobooth picture was offered for sale as an “old chauffeur’s badge” identity photo. It was said to be for a driver who “had to have their photo in their bus”.

Firstly it is not a badge. Like most photomatic photos there is a pop-out cardboard stand on the back, no pin. Hmm. Are bus drivers actually referred to as chauffeurs? Is this a bus driver’s uniform or a chauffeur’s uniform? Is it really a form of identification without a name or any other details attached?

Sure, the wear and tear suggests this picture may have been on display somewhere for an extended period, but there are many other explanations, other than the one proposed by the vendor. I have seen the same wear and tear on photos of lovers, rakes and dolly birds, pictures unlikely to have been used as ID.

This could have been a simple love token, made by a happy man for his lady.  Maybe it was a spur of the moment purchase. Was it made when a booth presented itself unexpectedly, on taking a different route home one evening?  Maybe it was a planned gift presented with a bunch of flowers?  Or could it simply have been a personal souvenir to celebrate a first or last day at work? Whatever the case, given its condition, it was proudly displayed somewhere.

As with most of my photos, I’d say the circumstances behind this picture will remain unknown. The photo is thin, there is rust on the frame, the surface is battered, faded and dull. Yet one thing radiates as brightly as on the day it was taken – a glorious, broad-mouthed smile. I love it!

One of the things I love about collecting photobooth photos, is the myriad possibilities that arise for discovering new and fun things. This image shows a woman wearing a badge that, a quick online search has confirmed, represents the face of a very famous wooden dummy.

Edgar John Bergen was an American actor and radio performer, best known as a ventriloquist. At the peak of his fame he was probably the best known practitioner of his craft in the world. His success was undoubtedly the result of a partnership with a character he created, with the help of a carved block of pine, named Charlie McCarthy. This character was so endearing and believable that the pair conquered vaudeville, movies and the airwaves across America from the 1930s to the 1960s.

This photo has another interest for me. With each woman wearing similar blouses and hairstyles, the parts in their hair on opposite sides, one can imagine it is one woman leaning on a mirror, which eerily reflects how she will look in 20 years time.  The photobooth has become a time machine. Inscribed on the back of the photo in pencil are the words “Left to right, Mrs Polichuk & a friend of Mrs P.

Edgar and Charlie

Badges similar to the one worn above.

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