Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Photo Booth

Every respectable 5 and 10 cent store needed to have a photo booth. It was actually an amazing device. I still have photos that were taken in a photo booth from my childhood. The images are still crisp and clear.

So, no it wasn't the popcorn or the little dot candies on adding machine tape or the fresh nuts, though all those things did make a 5 and 10 a different entity.

Most of the booths I remember had a seat that you could spin to make it go up or down so you could frame your face in the mirror, which was exactly where the photos would be taken. You could use the gray curtain as a background or move it to the side to have a white wall in the background.

You would enter the booth, drop in your 50 cents and ham it up for four shots. Oddly there was never a counter that warned you when each shot would be taken. I often saw the flash through blinking eyes. The flash was a strong light that shone through frosted glass.

It was an absolute marvel when they came out with the color film version. However it was soon eclipsed when Polaroid introduced the instant camera.

I knew some kids who would go in for rude photos that couldn’t be developed elsewhere. Back then there weren’t even photocopiers to sit on. So if you wanted to take a photo of you mooning the camera, a photo booth was your only option.

I understand the old photo booth is quite the collectible these days and are featured at the best parties in the wealthier communities. It’s a wonder supplies are still available for them. It wouldn’t be hard to come up with a digital one that printed to a laser printer. Maybe they have already and I'm just out of the loop.

How special we felt when someone cut a photo up their photo-strip and gave you a picture. I still have a photo of my first love. I wonder if she still has mine.


Blogger Donna said...

Somewhere, I have a picture of my mom and me (as an infant) taken in a photo booth.

4:48 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

The photo booth at parties is quite the thing. My aunt does this with her boyfriend - he owns a fleet of them and various employees drive them around on the weekends - it's very lucrative too.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Guy, you should check out Chucky Cheese, they have a booth that does a pencil drawing of the people that sit in the booth. I am amazed at how well it does.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Newberry's I remember was in Spokane; photo booth, lunch counter, heavenly smells and hot fudge sundaes I still can't duplicate. It even had an ESCALATOR! In the alcove under the escalator sat a woman in a very bright light mending silk stockings. When I would stand and watch she seemed to be pretend-sewing, so fine was the work she was doing. I think my fascination came from the fact that the stockings were so precious someone would PAY to have them mended.
Crack-up photos in those booths, whose price was very dear. Not one left.

9:16 AM  
Blogger pril said...

up until about four years ago, Pony Village mall in North Bend had one of these stashed near it's coin-operated Merry-Go-Round. Near the salon with the big 70s style black and white hair mural.

9:44 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, they do last don't they. It's strange because if the chemicals aren't just right photos will fade and/or become brittle.

Lori, the old standard is still the standard.

Jeff, Me go into a Chuck-E-Cheese? Maybe with a gun pointed at my head. Maybe we can get one of those machines locally. Any shop owners reading out there?

Anon, great story. What year was the mender working? Sounds like 40s to 50s.

Pril, was the mural made of hair?

11:13 AM  
Blogger pril said...

no it wasn't made of hair. It was one of those weird op-arty 70s things done in just black and white, of eyes and lips and flowing hair.

6:25 PM  

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