Sunday, May 16, 2010


Photobooth images have been ruminating in my brain, ohhhh, since last September, easily. These palm-sized portraits are so joyous, often without inhibition. Sit. Smile. FLASH!

Anatol Josepho (Anatol Josephewitz), a Jewish immigrant to the US from Siberia, invented and patented the first fully-functioning photobooth in New York City in 1925. A few years later, he was paid one million dollars for his invention, giving half of this large sum to charity. Josepho continued his philanthropic ways after his move to Los Angeles, along with his actress-wife, Ganna, and their growing family. He died in L.A. in 1980.

Photobooths became extremely popular in an incredibly short period of time. Josepho's original  Photomaton "Studios" in New York City were open 24 hours, often with lines of people waiting around the block to get inside. Over 250,000 photos were taken during the first 6 months of their existence.
Imagine, over 250 THOUSAND...

Even today, there is still something charming, simple and silly with a photobooth photo.

The first shot, people are often surprised by the flashing spotlight. And then, they get it. They loosen up. They smile. They look up. They look down. They look to the left, then to the right. They kiss a girlfriend. They hug a pal. 

Within minutes the images appear outside the booth through a small picture slot. How will they look? Will they look silly, bad, ugly? They look wonderful! How fun!

The universe boinked me enough times on the head about photobooth images for me to finally pay attention and start playing about, see what can come of it all.

Wow, let's see where we end up. How fun is that?

Go find a photobooth - Sit. Smile. FLASH! 

Believe me - it's total fun!

Images above: Photobooth photos from the 1930's purchased from collectors found on Etsy.
Image right: Taken in a photobooth on display in "Monsters & Miracles", an exhibit curently at the Skirball Cultural Center.


Lynn A. Fraley said...

What a great direction to explore and terrific images!

hls said...

Sorry for the late reply, I've been in transit lately. Yes, Lynn - much fun - we'll see where it take us. !!