Tag Archives: vintage photography

USA, early 1970s

In this strip of photos, on a first glance, it looks like an older girl is trying to corrupt a younger one. That is until you see that, if anything, the younger girl is doing the corrupting. In reality, despite the tie-less, pigtailed, schoolgirl look of the lass on the left, these two are probably the same age and well past the stage where smoking could be deemed to be quite so “naughty”. I’d say they were both in their twenties, or do you think they are younger than that?

If it were not for the fact that the cigarette is so perfectly formed and obviously not a hand rolled one, I’d think they were indulging in a joint, rather than a ciggie. I love the fact that the act of sharing a fag in a photobooth is so amusing to them both. And using a cigarette holder? How sophisticated, (or not!). I feel like the mirth is such that there must’ve been a reason for it. Could it have been induced by the fact they swiped the holder from a pretentious employer or older relative?

The way the girl on the right is blowing smoke directly at the camera, in the second shot, is nicely caught and the look of glee on both their faces makes me want to join in with the gag.

Isn’t the girl on the right stunningly beautiful, and all the more so for her beaming smile?

This was an incredibly generous gift from my friend Ted. He has sent me some magnificent strips over the past few years. This one surpasses them all! Thanks again, Ted!

It is Anzac Day here in Australia, in beautiful New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga. It is also commemorated in Papua New Guinea and Samoa. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all from those places “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”.

Today a new centre to honour our contribution to campaigns on the Western Front was opened by our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Centre is named after General Sir John Monash, “who led the Australian Corps with outstanding success on the Western Front in 1918, including the famous 4 July 1918 victory at Le Hamel”. It is located at the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux in France.

Having a laugh, France 1944

I do not have any photobooth photos of Australian soldiers in France but I want to share some to represent all the people who fought far from home in any war, at any time. I feel very privileged to own this group of World War 2 era photos, taken by American soldiers somewhere in France in 1944 and 1945. They evoke very melancholy emotions, which are at once full of admiration at the sacrifices made and the courage it must’ve taken to fight, while at the same time they stir a deep, deep sadness and dismay that we are still fighting senseless wars and killing our fellow men, women and children.

Above is handsome Lawler. Both images are dated 1944 and were taken on different days in France.

This is Brice or Bruce. 1945 France.

Above are two more from the same group, also probably taken in France. I know nothing about the uniforms or even if they are all in uniform. I don’t know what the pin on the lapel of one soldier indicates or if the hat Lawler is wearing indicates his rank. I hope some of the details will be filled in for me, by you.

Often there are instances where one might have an inkling that a photo of two people could be that of siblings but with no positive proof, it remains just that – an inkling, a guess, a supposition. For some reason I feel certain that the women here are sisters, despite the differences between them. If not sisters, they look to have had a long and close friendship. I feel joy and hope when I look at this photo. At this age, I want to be able to take a similar photo with one of my besties, with whom I have shared a photobooth on more occasions, than with anyone else.

I love the intimate pose of these two – their shoulders overlapping and heads touching. From the lady on the right we see a gentle tilt of the head towards her companion. This emphasises their closeness and suggests to me that she is the more dependent one in the relationship. I also love the way their smiles are so genial and welcoming. They are genuinely warm and unforced, and their eyes have followed suit, inviting us to enjoy the warmth of their relationship.

This photo is undated but the style of clothing and jewellery suggests to me it is from the late 1950s or early 60s. What looks at first glance to be a brooch on the lady at the left, is actually a very lovely and unusual means of fastening her jacket. You can just see the other part of this clasp at the far bottom left of the photo. She is also wearing some tasteful earrings which are too indistinct in the photo to guess more about them. I am assuming the pansy shaped brooch to be on the dress or jacket of the lady on the right. However, it is on an unusual angle if it is on her clothing, and yet it seems to sit too high to be on the breast of her friend, where a brooch would most likely be placed, for it to be hers. Another question for me is, are those leaf shapes to the left of the sparkling pansies, part of that same brooch or another one altogether?

As always there will be things that you will notice that I have missed. I love to get your thoughts and feelings, so please leave a comment.

Ray Parker 1981. He was probably aged 21 or 22.

These are the last two images I have of Ray. We have seen him develop and grow from babyhood to adulthood in 134 frames. Happily for me, you have taken him to your heart as much as I have.

Included in this large lot of photos was one three-photo strip of a middle aged lady, called Millee. (Below) Her name is written in the same hand writing that appears on the backs of most of the images of Ray as a teenager and adult. I have no doubt that these photos are definitely part of the family collection.

As no mother appears in any of these strips, perhaps Ray grew up without a mum? Whether through divorce or death or perhaps through a dislike of having her photo taken, she is an absent figure. So perhaps Millee was the important motherly figure in Ray’s life? There could be a resemblance to Ray in her features. She could be his mother, I suppose, but to me she looks rather too old to have been a mum to a 16 year old in 1975, when this photo was taken. She could possibly be an aunt or Ray’s grandmother? Perhaps a nanny or housekeeper to Ray’s father?

It is likely that we will never know the full story, but if someone who recognises Ray stumbles on this blog, you will be the first to know.

Millee 1975


13 August 1966, 20 August 1966, 29 October 1966, 13 November 1966

I was thrilled with the comments the previous post received. I’m happy to be able to add more photos to this series, as wished for by Roberta M (please visit her blog) and others. This is the busiest phase of the series, with there being some photos as close together as a week, yet as far apart as almost five years.

11 March 1967, 8 April 1967, 13 May 1967, 3 June 1967

Ray is a cheeky, cutie, don’t you think? My favourite strip is the one, below, where he has had a fight with a lawn mower, yet is still happy to show off the results.

22 July 1967, 5 August 1967, 1 June 1968, 17 April 1973

This is the last time we see Ray’s father. He is still hiding there, in the background. Ray changes a lot in the last two strips, but why the long time between sittings? Were some photos lost? Perhaps, but one may surmise that around the age of eight, Ray had had enough of being photographed for his dad’s amusement and point blank refused to cooperate any longer. Or maybe they moved house and were no longer in close proximity to a booth? Whatever the case, with a leap in his growth and maturity, after five years, Ray restarted his father’s project alone.

1 December 1961

This is a long, extraordinary series of photos of a young American, Raymond Parker, from babyhood in 1961 to . . . well, we shall see. Many of the photos are dated but none indicate where they were taken. Some include a, mostly hidden, father, but generally Ray is on his own. There is a progression through his childhood and through changing fashions. There is one strip of a lone woman included with this group but no sign of a mother at any stage.

I do love a series of booth photos showing a person at different times in their life. This group is my largest collection of such photos.

Undated. Probably 1962


21 March 1964

28 April 1966

4 July 1966

9 July 1966

Late 1930s, USA

Some hand coloured photographs are so finely and skillfully done, that even with them unframed and in your hands, you will need to catch the light in a very specific way to be able to tell it from a photo taken with colour film.

Not so here! This very amateurish and uneven job has left this poor woman looking like a cross between Raggedy Ann and a Flowerpot Man. Having said that, it is her woefully unflattering hairstyle as much as the colour used, that makes her coiffure reminiscent of Bill and Ben’s flowerpot hats. With her exaggerated rag-doll pink cheeks and parts of her teeth, as gaily coloured as her lips, one wonders why she, or a descendant, felt inclined to keep this photo long enough for it to find its way to an online auction site in the twenty-tens.

If you look carefully you can see a misdirected splodge of the same light blue ink used for her dress, on her right eye. Perhaps this lady had beautiful pale blue eyes? Perhaps she wore this pastel shade frequently in order to highlight their dainty colour?

She was not a lady without some money behind her. Her pendant is costume jewellery most certainly, but bold, stylish and fashionable for the time. The pin-tucked bodice of her dress shows complex workmanship, as do the top of the sleeves. She appears to be an, at least moderately, affluent woman who was conscious of style and presentation.

Therefore, one wonders why she decided to forego the services of a professional photo colourist? They would definitely have produced a more flattering finished product. Perhaps she was so enamoured with the idea of being a home artist, that she was eager to try out her skills regardless of the outcome? Perhaps she was thrilled with this wee artwork?

Online, there are frequently listed for sale some very amusing examples of the rogue amateurs’ practice. The worst and funniest examples go for high prices, as do those of an accidental, avant garde, artistic sensibility.

It was a popular hobby to colour ones own photographs when cameras and film became cheap enough to be within reach of anyone. There were many different methods used and a plethora of kits available, like the two examples below.

The two photos, above, were taken from

22 March 2017

This strip is one which I took after doing my Easter photos for 2017. I wasn’t going to let a perfectly good Easter prop go to waste or miss an opportunity to take more pics. In order to get my choppers around this delectable morsel, I had to first remove my bunny cheeks and teeth. The ears fell off when I removed my hair-tie. I’m still wearing my beautiful pink eye shadow and eye-brows, making this Easter series slightly more than some photos of a greedy-guts scoffing some chocolate.

Happy Easter to everyone!

Above are two beautiful young ladies, most probably sisters, posing on a day out with an unseen grown-up. If the collars are anything to go by, they look to be wearing the same style of white shirt. The younger child, in front, is wearing a hand knitted cardigan over the untucked shirt and her sister is wearing what looks to be a velvet jacket with a very fine line of nice shiny buttons.

Below, on a different day the elder girl again poses in a photobooth. This time she is holding up a sign. I love the slightly quizzical look on her face as she looks directly at the camera, with a slight downward tilt of her head. I am looking for help from my German speaking readers, as I have no idea what is written on the chalk slate she is holding. Maybe the language isn’t German at all? It could be a school photo but with no date on it, I doubt it. Or could it be commemorating a first day at school? If so, and if this is indeed a German photo, I would have expected her to be holding a schultüte (school cone). You can see a schultüte and read about what they are at this link.

So to my German friends, I would be very grateful if you could tell me whatever you can about these pictures.

All the photos date to around the 1930s.

This strip is another gift from my friend Ted in the USA. Since we met through our respective blogs, Ted has been very generous in his gifts of unique and interesting booth images. I’m so grateful to him and feel a flutter of joy each time I pull out the things he has given me.

Using the clothes and hairstyles as my guide, I would guess these images date to the late 1930s or early 1940s. It is quite unusual to find a strip from this era that has not been cut into individual frames. In the early years after its invention, photobooth machines were mostly situated in shops that offered other photobooth related photography services, such as enlargements, duplicates and framing. The machines were operated by an attendant who directed the poses. Once the photos were developed and dry, they were cut and placed in an envelope for presentation to the customer. There were eight photos to a strip.

You can see that these images have been taken with the help of an operator. There is none of the random squashing-in you see in later photos when the booths were unattended. The three ladies have been carefully directed to their respective positions allowing for no part of their faces to be obscured. In the first two frames the direction was to look left, the next to look right and the final one to look ahead. Whether or not they followed the instructions is another matter! I love the subtlety of the changes in each image, particularly in the eyes. They give the pictures a lovely gentle, and warm atmosphere.

There are some lovely details in the clothing and accessories worn by these three women. The woman on the right has a magnificent brooch in the form of a butterfly or bird wings at her throat. The huge buttons on her jacket look metallic in their shine. Maybe they have a gilt finish? The lady on the left is also wearing a lovely piece of jewellery in the form of a large sparkling pendant along with a matching sparkling hair clip. The ruffled collar of the lady who is sitting in the middle could be hiding some more jewels.

Below are some links to other posts that feature photos of Ted or relate to Ted in some way. Enjoy!

My Friend Ted

Two Old Birds In A Photobooth – A short story by Ted Strutz

Ted’s Photobooth Story – A real life photobooth tale

Three-Time Academy Award Winner In A Photobooth – Another strip from Ted

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