Tag Archives: vintage photobooth

This young man has celebrated his first day at school with a trip to a photobooth to show off his first day presents – two School Cones. He doesn’t look especially pleased in this picture but he should have been.

A “Schultüte” or School Cone is a paper or plastic cone of gifts. When children in Germany and Austria set off for their first day at school, their parents and/or grandparents present them with a decorated cone that is filled with toys, chocolate, sweets, school supplies, and various other treats.

The tradition of the Schultüte can be traced back to Saxony (around 1810) and continues to this day.

Below is another photo from my collection of a little girl with her cone. She is looking more appropriately happy than the little boy.



This small glass photo frame is one example of dozens of designs that were available at photomaton studios across America. The areas that appear to be grey in this scan are actually mirrored, making it an eye catching piece of decoration.

The subject of this photo looks to me to be wearing a Canadian uniform, rather than a US uniform but I really couldn’t be sure. Does anyone have any information on the subject?

The frame is 90 x 70 mm and the photo is a standard size booth photo measuring 40 x 50 mm.


USA 1966

The wonderful smiles on the faces of this couple prompted me to buy the above strip of photos. I wonder if they were newly together at this stage or just one of those rare couples whose joy in each other’s company never wanes?

I was thrilled to find another example of their togetherness on Tumblr (see below). I’d say this photo was taken some years after the first strip and they still look so happy!

PhotoboothSameCouple I Have

Photo from Tumblr.




As you can see I have three photos in my collection of this highly changeable, style-queen, Jo. I couldn’t share them with you, without also showing you the photo (below) – the one that got away – as I think it is probably the best of the lot.

It hurts to think she has been separated from the rest of her past but considering the price that was paid for her, I am sure she will be well cared for.

Update 26 February, 2013 – (I bid on the photo below at an auction but due to the ferocious competition was unable to secure this photo to add to the other three I’d already bought.)


The one that got away.


14 January 1999, Southland, Melbourne

I took this strip of photos when I was at Southland shopping centre to look for a bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding. It was the third or fourth attempt to find something we both liked and yet it was once again unsuccessful.

I don’t much like shopping for clothes at the best of times. I think my attitude to my task is abundantly evident in these pictures.

This strip is part of the series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here.


Tokens are an old means of operating and managing coin-in-the-slot vending machines such as automatic photobooths. Magnolia Photobooth Company (see one of their tokens, above) design and build their own photo booths, some of which are operated using this system. Unfortunately they are generally phasing out their tokens in the USA, however it is still being used in a few booths around the world, specifically in Seoul and Toronto.

One of their clients, Kiehl’s, is the only company in the USA that has committed to keeping the token system. It is an integral part of the marketing of their business. They hand out tokens to people who buy product or are about to buy product in their boutiques. They can immediately redeem it for a branded strip of booth photos or use it on their next visit.

Magnolia Photobooth Company are a tiny crew with only 9 full-time staff that runs an extensive national digital photobooth rental operation in the USA and internationally.

As a photobooth rental company Magnolia is very creative in its marketing. They have an interesting blog (click here to have a look) and a book that documents a journey they made with their booths to various events around the US. You can see some of the book here and buy it here.

To see another, older photobooth token from my collection, click here.

Peter Tower, the owner of the company is (almost) seen below holding a copy of the book.

photoboothProtraitof AmericaBook01

photoboothProtraitof AmericaBook02


3 January 1999, Southland, Melbourne

Another strip of me and my sister Susan, this time before seeing the movie Saving Private Ryan. Sue was pregnant in this picture. We shall see more of my sister and the manifestation of this state in a future post.

This strip is part of the series Photobooth 41 Year Project. You can see all the posts that document the series by clicking here.

This is a summary of the changes we saw in Becky in the larger series of strips of Becky and Friends. Becky must have been born in 1955, as from information on one of the strips, she was 22 in 1977.  As many of the photos are undated, the sequence is a guess based on the few confirmed dates from the backs of the strips. I think I have it pretty well correct.

One of my favourite parts of collecting booth photos is seeing the changes in people over time. It is unusual to find so many over such a long period.

Please click on the first photo to see the gallery in a larger format .

Damian Michaels is an American artist, writer, curator and publisher who has lived in Melbourne since 1994. His work is part of the outsider art movement. Outsider art is a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture. Often, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds. Damian sees his art as spiritual, psychological and an emotional mirror to the collective consciousness. His art is revelatory and message-laden but that message is for the viewer to interpret. It is not prescribed by the artist. This altered photobooth self-portrait is part of a series of works Damian has done using photographs old and new, as his canvas. Apart from loving this as the only piece of photobooth art I have in my collection, I enjoy its movement and humour. For me, it is an appropriate self-portrait of a man with a creative spirit and an apparently great sense of fun. To see more of his work and read more about him, follow the links below.

  • At Raw Vision, Colin Rhodes writes about Damian's underlying creative processes.
  • Damian's Flickr Photostream where you can see more of his altered photos and other works.
  • His facebook page
  • and Damian's website where you can buy copies of his publication Art Visionary magazine

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