The original selfie machine

You’d think they had had their day, but photo booths are still going strong, as this recent Quartz Obsession round-up shows. But first, some highlights from its long history.

Photo booths
1890: The Bosco Automat, an early automated photo machine requiring a human operator, debuts at the First International Exposition of Amateur Photography.

1900: Eastman Kodak debuts the Brownie camera with a price point of just $1.

1925: The first curtain-enclosed booth costs users 25 cents for a strip of 8 photos.

1929: Surrealist René Magritte uses the new technology for his work Je ne vois pas la cachée dans la forêt (“I do not see the woman in the forest”).

1930s: Bluesman Robert Johnson takes a photo booth self-portrait; when he becomes a posthumous legend, it’s made into a US postage stamp.

1953: John and Jackie Kennedy step into a photo booth during their honeymoon.

1963-1966: Andy Warhol manipulates hundreds of photo booth images into silkscreen images.

1993: Photo-Me offers the first digital photo booth.

1995: Video game company Sega introduces a photo machine that prints stickers, launching the purikura selfie trend in Japan.

2015: Photo Booth Expo launches in Las Vegas with 1,200 attendees. In 2019, expo attendance topped 4,000.

It seems smartphones are fully ubiquitous now and Instgram accounts are practically compulsory, but the photo booth is still here, for a new audience.

While the OG photo booth certainly has its charms, we’ve come a long way since the days of black-and-white photography and eight-minute processing times. Purikura is a Japanese photo booth experience that allows users to pick music for their photo shoots, choose lighting, enhance the photo by drawing on it, add digital backgrounds, retouch, and more.

Japanese Photo Sticker Booths: Purikura Adventure
Forget the selfie! It’s time to discover the Japanese Purikura Photo Sticker Booths. It’s hard to compete with the almighty smart phone these days, but the purikura “print club” booths have evolved into a US$50M a year industry and a place were one can be beamed into the professional model fantasy world – if only for 10 minutes.

Author: Terry Madeley

I enjoy reading about art and design, culture, data, education, technology and the web. I'm confused by a lot of it, to be honest.

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