Over the last few years, I've become more than a little obsessed with tracking down old fashioned black and white photobooths. It's so exciting to discover one of these booths as they are such a rare find these days and, in my mind, far superior to their digital counterparts! Each picture on the strip is different which means you can be so much more creative. Getting a group of friends squashed into a tiny photobooth always makes for some brilliant pictures, and waiting for the finished photostrip to pop out of the machine is part of the fun. (Black & white booths also seem a bit more flattering than new machines which tend to give me rather a ghostly appearance!)
So far I've located chemical photobooths in Brighton, London, Manchester, Chicago, Paris and (the capital of 'booths!) Berlin. A handy tip if you're ever searching for a chemical booth is to have a look on photobooth.net which has a handy worldwide locator. While browsing the site recently I came across my dream book - a graphic novel all about photobooths!
Photobooth - A Biography is written by artist Meags Fitzgerald who has grown up with a lifelong love and fascination with photobooths. She's traveled the world to photobooth exhibitions & conventions, connected with fellow fans and even learnt how to repair old booths. It was wonderful to read a book by somebody who shares my love for photobooths (to the point where they actually appear in your dreams!)
The book serves as a history of the invention of the machines, along with geeky tips on which models are still in service and snippets from Meags' journey to capture the beauty of analogue photobooths before they get replaced by digital. Sadly, one of the chemicals used to process the photos inside the booths is very harmful and may soon cease to be made, which means that as early as 2015 these beautiful old photobooths (as seen in many of my favourite films such as Amelie & Buffalo 66) could be extinct. Track them down while you can!