April 1997, Spencer Street Station, Melbourne
I was on my way to visit my friend Liarne at the surfing hub of Victoria, Torquay and guess what? I found a photobooth. Aren’t you surprised? Liarne had recently moved from Melbourne to the Surf Coast with her hubby and Read More
There are many of these unusual format photos listed online as photobooth photos but I am still unsure as to whether that description is entirely correct. I cannot imagine an automatic photobooth this size. On page 125 of Näkki Goranin’s book American Photobooth, there is an example of this type of photo illustrated, leading me to believe that they must have existed somewhere, at sometime. However, I can find no mention of this type of booth in the text of the book.
A second strip from the first of February this year.
Still looking boxed in, eh, Kat? No, no. Just coincidence, I assure you.
On my way to any doctor’s appointment, most of which are more than an hour’s drive from my home, I stop to rest and get a photobooth photo. Why not? I need to rest for a while, even on these relatively short drives, due to having the neurological condition ME/CFS. The condition greatly limits what I am able to do in any one day and keeps me house bound most of the time. A half day out generally results in two or three days in bed to recover.
SO, why not analyse this photo in the context of my life at the moment, eh? Or let’s not. I found the “bars” on a walk with my pooch on a recently demolished house site. I saw some cool photobooth photos of people with faux bars and prison props that I thought I’d emulate. Stripes are a favourite of mine. Combine these factors and the result is this group of four images, simple as that.
But then again…
My favourite pic. I look like a cartoon character, somehow.
PS Although the image quality in digital prints is inferior to those from chemical booths, I like the flattening of the images and stark contrasts, especially when blown up.
Up until today, all of the Photomatic photos I have written about are from the USA. Photomatic booths were different to other photobooth machines, as they produced only one photograph, which was delivered to the sitter ready framed. Frames were made of cardboard and metal in various coloured finishes. Towards the end of their existence the frames were plastic.
In Australia, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney believes that only one photomatic machine was imported into Australia and it is possible that it was never put into service. Finding an Australian photomatic example is extremely remote, therefore finding any photomatic that is not American, was quite exciting for me.
This picture of mother and son was taken in Scotland. The Scottish seller theorised that it may have been taken at the Empire Exhibition, in Scotland in 1938. The event was an international exposition held at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, from May to December 1938. It showcased the best of Scotland’s industry and creativity, while also offering a chance to boost the country’s economy, which was recovering from the depression of the 1930s.
I find the atmosphere of this photo to be more restrained and demure than in most American images of the same period. The clothing is more conservative and the expressions of these two are more tentative and shy than the average North American sitter. It could be that these two are not typical of the British Isles. They are just two quiet people enjoying a day out. However to me it has a particularly British feel to it; friendly, homey and comfortably welcoming.
13 July 1996, St Kilda, Melbourne
Yet another group of pictures from my favourite photobooth at Luna Park, which continues my chronological photobooth series.
This is me and a friend with her child. She initially gave me permission to use the image on the blog but then changed her mind, so I pixilated the faces to keep her happy.
I quite like the mystery of this image. It has the feel of a missing person or wanted poster. It is slightly melancholic and sad.
I found the above strip of photos at Brixton Tube, London in 1992. I could see why it was thrown away and my heart broke for the poor, seemingly cross-eyed, bugger.
Being totally obsessed with all things photobooth, I often trawl through images that other people have posted online. Tumblr is a great place for a bit of a browse. Looking at Is this you? a brilliant page on that site, I found the photos, below. I’d swear it was the same guy. Sure he is older, balder, and his eyes haven’t crossed. I think most of the rest of him matches. Anyone else see a resemblance?
Is this you? often asks that very question of the viewer but there is no way to contact the publisher to ask him where he found his pics. If any of them were me, how could I let him know?! He seems to be based in the UK, which is a good start, but that is all I can discover.