Tag Archives: vintage photobooth

September 1975, September 1975, Undated, Undated

Our little boy is growing up! I am guessing Raymond would have been around 16 in the first two strips. He is rapidly putting on weight as we see him age. Too many hamburgers and hot chips, eh Ray?

Undated, Undated, Undated, 6 Movember 1977

I don’t think this moustache suits him at all!

Could he really be only 18 or 19 in this 1977 photo? I think he must be. If he was around 18 months or even two years old in the very first photo in December 1961, then we could be reasonably certain he was born in 1959. To me he looks old for his age.

10 March 1978, 20 March 1978, 8 March 1979, 23 March 1979

So the mo is a no-no on its own but I do like the beard. Not sure about the quiff but that has never been a favourite of mine in men’s hairstyling.

14 July 1978, 6 August 1979, 6 August 1979, February 1981

Ugh, that mo is back, but not for long, as he goes all rock ‘n’ roll with those sunnies and then he turns 1950s country squire in the last strip!

I’m almost finished showing you the pictures I have of Ray. There is one more post to come. I love this series for the changes in his face over time but I have barely touched on what he is wearing or his expressions, which have their own stories to tell. I will leave that to you this time.

As with all the photos I buy, I wonder why they have escaped their homes and ended up for sale online. Individual photos are not such a mystery, as they were often given to relatives or traded with friends. Later generations could easily be left looking at dozens of photos of people they have never met or even heard of. Why not sell them off? But when a large series, like this, ends up alone in the world, I feel there must be a tragedy in their past. In the happiest of circumstances Ray should certainly still be alive and his dad would also have a reasonable chance to still be living. But if his father was the custodian of these images and then passed away, why did Ray not value them? Had he a falling out with his father, so wasn’t there when he died, and wasn’t involved in the tidying up of his estate? Did Ray die at a very young age, so when his father passed, there was no one close enough left to want the collection? So many questions!

I suppose there might be a tiny chance that someone who knew Ray Parker and his dad might stumble across these photos and be able to fill in the blanks. Lets hope so.


Above is the photobooth where the majority of my recent booth pics have been taken. I take multiple strips each time I visit, as due to my health, I am never sure when I will be able to make it there again. It is a place for me to be creative, a place where I love to play.

In 2011 Lindy Percival of The Age newspaper wrote a piece about this booth and the owner Alan Adler. In the article, Alan could not see a bright future for his business. The photographic paper was getting harder to source and he was scaling things back due to his advancing years.

For some years after the article was published, every time I’d go to the centre of Melbourne, I would hold my breath as I turned into Flinders Street. Will the booth still be there, I’d wonder? At one point, I had a gut wrenching moment when the booth was not in its usual position. That was quickly over, as a photobooth-enthusiast ticket inspector directed me to the new location. Gradually I forgot about the probably looming disappearance of this and Alan’s other booth in Chapel Street, South Yarra.

Most of my excursions to town are as a result of appointments to see specialist doctors. Having an appointment on Monday, Saturday saw me thinking about what props I might take with me for the trip to the booth and how I might use those props. Later that day, I received a comment on this blog that the booth was going to be removed on Sunday. Noooooooo!!!!!!


I googled the information to see if I could find any news reports about the booth’s imminent demise. Nothing. I tried Facebook and other social media. Nothing. How could I find out if the story was true? I messaged people who would be in the know. Nothing. Then I received confirmation that a friend’s daughter had also heard about the removal. There was nothing for it. I needed to get into the city pronto. There was no way I was well enough to make the trip there and back twice in two days, so I leaped onto Trivago in the hope that I could find a cheap hotel in which to spend Sunday night. Nothing I could afford came up, so thwarted in that plan, I decided to just hope for the best that it might still be in situ on Monday morning.

And lo and behold, when I turned into Flinders Street, there it still was, in all its dishevelled glory! My heart leapt, as subsequently did my collection of booth strips.

And yet the plot thickens. While waiting for my final strip to emerge, I was taken by a very elegant and superbly rendered tattoo of David Bowie on the calf of a young woman. As it turned out, she was waiting for a friend near the booth. I mentioned my last post on this blog about Marco Ferrari and his tattoo photos, as I thought it might interest her. As we chatted I mentioned the removal rumour. She knew all about it! Yes, the booth had been scheduled for removal on Sunday. Apparently it is not the shortage of paper or the looming retirement of the owner that were at issue. It is the station management that want the booth removed. I say “damn your eyes”* to those anonymous corporate destroyers of a much loved Melbourne icon!


My new companion knew even more. Apparently the booth has had a temporary reprieve until the end of this month. There is also a campaign to lobby for a permanent stay of execution. Unfortunately, it was a hot afternoon, I felt woeful and I was fretting about leaving the city before peak hour, so I forgot to ask who was organising the campaign and if there was anything I could do to help. Duh, double duh! I am a failure as a knight in shining armour for my beloved booth!!

Now, I am hoping that this post might be seen by the elegantly tattooed bearer of the news. I gave her my card, (Yes, I have a card for this blog. I’m obsessed, remember?) and she said she would check it out. Any comments from anyone who knows more about the Save Our Flinders Street Photobooth Campaign would be very, very welcome.

*A favourite quote from Young Frankenstein. God bless Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle and Gene Wilder.



This is the second in a series of photos of a young American having fun in a photobooth. I think he may have grown up to be an actor, given his love of performing for a camera and the range of faces he came up with in these two strips!

It is easy to imagine his mum or dad standing outside the booth encouraging him to play the fool. It is just as easy to think that they may have chastised him for his behaviour. Having said that, there is always the possibility that he passed the booth on his way to or from school and used his pocket money to make the photos. However, this is the least likely scenario as the photos have all been dated in an adult hand, not to mention that they are in much too fine a condition to have been part of a childhood collection.

This little boy appears in these strips in an outfit very similar to one that my brother wore around the same era. It is very much of its time and thus looks very daggy and dated. I am sorry eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Bowties are not cool.


Sorry Doctor, they aren’t!


This is the first of a set of eight photobooth strips from the United States. Each of the strips is dated on the front and back. Unfortunately there are no other details recorded.

I imagine this cheeky and handsome young man to be 8 or 9 in this strip, making him around 14 or 15 in the last of them. As you will see as this series progresses, he is not afraid to play the fool in front of the camera, more so in some of the strips than others.

As I have said before, I love a sequence of photobooth photos that show the changes in a person from one year to the next. Booth photos are particularly well suited to watching someone as they grow up or grow older, due to their main focus being on head and shoulders. It is part of the reason I love them so much.


In June last year I asked Canadian photopbooth aficionado, Jeff Nachtigall aka Dirk Lancer, if I could share some of his images from his Lomography pages. He said yes. Now, finally, here they are.

Just as here in Australia, chemical booths are disappearing in Canada. Jeff says all the black and white booths have gone and he has heard that the colour ones will be gone within the next year or so.

To see more of Jeff’s work please click here.


Complete series

953x4793x2-1 953x4793x2


Below is another series by Jeff with his explanation about how the series was made.

I took this series in a photobooth in West Edmonton Mall, right beside the waterpark, across from the Antique photo parlour. I used an old bed sheet on my lap and over the floor to catch all the hair, while a friend waited outside, handing me loonies (1 dollar coins). The whole series cost $28 and took just under 1/2 an hour to complete. I learned that you can continue to put in coins and get photos done without waiting for the previous strips to develop, but I’m not sure how far you could push this. Next time, I’m taking a straight razor and a bucket of hot water 😉






To see Mr Topsy Right way up, please scroll down.

When I was a child, we used to go to visit my Grandparents in the Victorian country town of Ballarat. They still lived in the same house in which my father had grown-up . Even after twenty years away from home, his bedroom still contained numerous childhood items, including an early edition of the Australian children’s publication Cole’s Funny Picture Book. Both my elder brother and I adored its quirky pictures, poems, puzzles and funny facts. With lands such as Naughtiness Land, Game Land, Santa Claus Land, Bunny Land, Doggy Land, Boy Land and Girl Land amongst many others, we would be amused for hours.

If you search through the World you will not get a book that will so please a child, if you pay £100 or even £1000 for it. To parents, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, and Friends—Every Good Child should be given one of these Books for being Good. Every Bad Child should be given one to try to make it Good.


First published in 1879 Cole’s Funny Picture Book, was launched with great publicity on Christmas Eve, and was subsequently, a big success . It was still popular with children in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and has had many revival reprints since then.

The above photo, of a man I have named Mr Topsy, so reminded me of one of my favourite parts of one of the three books in the series, that I had to buy it. In Game Land there was a section of picture puzzles that included skillful illustrations in which were hidden various people or objects for which one had to search. There were also topsy-turvy pictures like the one below, which showed a different person when viewed upside down.

Mr Topsy is the image of one of the illustrations I remember and loved so well. Despite searching long and hard to find an online copy of the drawing, (the books have long since disappeared), I was unsuccessful. Even without the picture, maybe you can see in his lined forehead, large eyes, jowly cheeks and rounded face how he could be transformed into one of these ingenious upside down characters?


Photobooth-topsy-turvy-By Rex Whistler (1905-1944)

A later version of a Victorian type Topsy Turvy illustration by Rex Whistler (1905-1944)



Movie of you Front


I bought this rare type of photobooth photo from an online seller in the USA. I have others in my collection, three of which you can see here. When it arrived it was in a parlous state of repair, being in two pieces and covered with brown paper tape to stop the photo inside from moving. None of the item’s problems were listed in the  advertisement.

After numerous emails where the seller accused me of creating the damage, I finally got an agreement to a refund but it cost me more to return it (it had to be sent registered post), than the item originally cost, leaving me out of pocket by $18. Having had to scan the photo to prove that the item had arrived in poor condition, I decided the best way to ameliorate my bad feelings about the whole affair, is to do a blog post about how the mechanics of this type of photobooth item works. I hope you find it interesting.

Movie of you Back

Damage and brown paper tape on back.

movie of you without photo

With back and therefore photo removed. You can see the marks on the “lens” that gives the illusion of movement when the item is squeezed.

Movie of you Inside

The inside of the item, showing the lens and photo. The image has three distinct images overlapping and printed together. The lens separates each image and the illusion of movement is created by squeezing the sides of the frame.




Here is USA Tattoo Man and his friend once more . I think he is eating a hamburger but it could just be a bagel or filled bread roll, judging by his friend’s wee morsel. As with the previous posts in the series, that you can see here and here, I only own the above photo. You can see it in its original context below.

I have played with the tags in today’s edition. When I posted an image of myself eating a peanut butter dream bar,  I added “woman eating a banana” to see how may extra hits it got. (You can read the story behind why I did that, here.)  It turns out it is a rather successful ploy. My stats were very impressive for that day. So if you are here looking for a man/woman eating a sausage, or a man/woman eating a banana, sorry. You have been the victim of an extremely infantile prank – but hey, why were you searching under those tags anyway, hmm??



Following up from Part One, here is Tattoo Man on the phone in a photobooth with his partner. Once again I only own four individually cut photos from this series, this being the second of them.

Below are some of the complete strips from the original sale on Ebay. You can see the above image in its original context and two other strips of the same man and another partner who only appears in this one, heavily altered, series. It is also the only strip to be dated out of the dozen or so scanned from the seller’s website. It is hard to work out a scenario that explains why such a wonderful collection should have ended up in the public domain so quickly after its creation. (It is dated the 19th of May 2003.)



photoboothFramedTravelCaseDetail03 photoboothFramedTravelCaseDetail02 photoboothFramedTravelCaseDetail01

A lover of photobooth photos, and there are a surprising number of us, is generally found to be a lover of booth related ephemera as well. These photos came to me in the charming little, folding, faux-reptile travel case illustrated below. The 3 photos of this stylish lady of the 1930s, were roughly cut down to fit the frames, with, as you can see,  a varying level of success.

The fourth photo was missing from the series, so the seller added a random picture of a child to make the item more saleable. On receipt of the frame I was surprised to find that what I had assumed to be a leather or vinyl casing, was in fact paper. I was not disappointed. I paid a bargain price to secure it and I have never seen another like it since.




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