|Nicholas Rhodes. “Photobooth 1.” 2005-Jul-07. http://flic.kr/p/39tav|
Down The Street & Around The Corner
When these slot photo devices, or automatic photobooths - as the came to be called, first made their way to a street corner in New York City, they were an instant hit. The public was quick to fork over a quarter to sit inside its small curtain enclosure where they could shed formality for the whimsical and extemporaneous. It was reported, the line to the get a ‘photo strip’ would often be down the street and around the corner.
According to author Babbette Hines’ book Photobooth; “Within 20 years there were more than 30,000 in the United States alone, an explosive growth due largely to WWII, as soldiers and loved ones exchanged photos, hoping to cling to memories or moments in a world turned upside down.”
By the 1960s photobooths had become fixtures in drugstores and arcades throughout the country.
In spite Or Despite Of Cameras
The success of the automatic photobooth seemed to remain on an independent trajectory until the 1960s. It was then the Land camera was introduced by Polaroid bringing with it a redefinition of instant photography.
Perhaps the photobooth’s prosperity was the lure of confide mingled with anonymity. Here patrons discreetly slipped their quarter into the slot then became something they felt either unable to portray openly or freely with others in the outside world without the protection of the thin curtained escape offered within the temporarily asylum. Photobooths provided the freedom of no photographer or rules. Instead, for a few brief moments one had the ability to live out the fantasy of being whomever or whatever they liked then take home a trophy prize to remember the moment by.
These icons have served as inspirations, too! Andy Warhol is known to have spent hours at photobooths feeding quarters into them looking for inspiration to be incorporated into his own art. There are even a few books on the subject still available for sale in the open market.
The Booth Is Back!
Technology has transformed the photobooth of yesterday. Today’s wonders still have a camera and curtain, but now guests are able to upload and share their pictures from the booths like the ShutterBooth. Take your picture and with a simple click, it will be all over Facebook instantaneously through the magic of digital imagery! There are photobooks, tributes and many other ways the photos strips from these modern-day photobooth marvels are being used to help share and connect with others.
Companies like the DigitalPhotoBooth are making an elegant updates on the classic, redefined for a digital world. The units are being sold or rented and have shown up at all types of events. According to The Digital Photobooth, their units have been included at a diverse range of successful events from private dinner parties, Hollywood movie premiers, large scale International product launches, destination weddings, and even The White House!
If You Thought Photo Booth Was Only An App for Your MAC...
So, if you thought 'photobooth' was just software to be downloaded for your MAC or Instagram, we recommend this really cool look back to how such a unique genre of photography started and where it has come in today’s digital world...