“There is something strangely familiar and absolutely fresh in photobooth pictures..” states Babbette Hines.
I have very fond memories of climbing into a photobooth with my younger sister and pretending to have our photos taken a game we used to play when we saw a booth at our local shopping centre as kids. One photo I hold close to my heart is a small but very precious black and white photo of my young mother, sister and myself.
As I Photographer, I am forever in love with the human history that this art form captures. And this is why I am passionate about documenting the stories that we live today. And also why I collect great photography books and vintage photographs.
The photograph is the universal cultural document that we all can relate to in way or another. I guess this book is a clear testament to this idea, where I was totally drawn into the pages of looking in wonder of these 700 photobooth portraits (mainly vintage black and white). Looking at these photos as a window that has captured a time of this person’s life, one plays a game to try to guess the sitter(s) story, their age, the year, the reason for the photo and who the photo going to be given to. You can’t help to look, to compare, to see differences and similarities in hair styles, the clothes, the interesting faces, the expressions, the different backdrops and the body language snapped in that moment.
This is a book I can look at again and again and will always find something new.
What’s nice is that the books collections have a great diversity of portraits; from formal headshots to the fun casual group shots of teenagers and young lovers. There is a short history of the rise of the photobooth, we learn that the idea was first patented in 1925 by Anatol Josepho a Siberian immigrant who went to the United States to develop his idea and made his fortune.
How things have changed… to the art of the selfie.… maybe not really!!
Author: Babbette Hines
Published by Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2002