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American Photobooth Paperback – February 17, 2008
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Like many other American inventions, the DIY photo-portrait machine was the brainchild of immigrants, each of whom approached slightly differently the challenge of putting a developing and printing lab, along with a good camera, in the same box with a sitting studio and making the whole shebang percolate at the drop of a quarter. Goranin briefly recaps the careers of those inventors, as well as notable exploiters of the technology once it was in production. They’re such an interesting lot that one wishes she had applied that last bit of polish to her prose (she is addicted to dangling modifiers). For many, the fact that the photo booth is still made, however modified, and gainfully employed will be the text’s big revelation. Meanwhile, the gallery of photo-booth portraits Goranin has amassed, and, as a photographer, contributed to, constitute the book’s big attraction. These faces of six decades are everything their autoportraitists could have hoped they would be—silly, joyous, friendly, loving, frank, naughty, honest—and charming besides. Spellbinding. --Ray Olson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"That a perceptive, dedicated, and sensitive artist like Nakki Goranin has rescued from oblivion so many amazing self-portraits created by amateurs confronting themselves in the fleeting privacy of humble photobooths is yet another miracle for which we can be grateful." David Haberstich"
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Top customer reviews
It all began with the 1894 invention of a Parisian vending machine. Once the concept of the coin-operated vending machine was embraced by an evolving popular culture, these booths became a favorite pastime, "the ultimate pedestrian art". Over the years the concept developed, along with techniques to streamline the process, photo strips available to customers for twenty-five cents. A number of entrepreneurs contributed to this emerging art form that could be found in storefronts, department stores and virtually any place one of these booths would fit. The technology progressed with the times, from a "plumbless" machine that no longer required a water supply to various chemical paper treatments that allowed quick-drying, cost-efficient results.
Over the years, booths were refined redesigned and updated under a series of names: Photomaton, Phototeria, Mutoscope Photographics, Photo-Me USA, Tru-Photo and Photo-Dome, through a number of innovative family-owned enterprises appearing everywhere, including the Depression. By the 1970s color strips arrived; by the 80s chemical photobooths were nearly phased out. The first art promoter to use the photobooth, Andy Warhol made the images part of the American artistic lexicon. But for those of us who ever posed with a friend, inserted a quarter and received a strip of four pictures, this book is a reminder of simpler days. Although "this American tradition stands on the brink of extinction". Goranin's wonderful collection offers a trip to the past, from the early 20th century, page after page of smiling faces hoping to capture a moment in a fast-moving world. Luan Gaines/ 2008.
Treat yourself to this book, and allow yourself to succumb to the endless stories inside - those that are documented, and those that you will find yourself making up.
flash of light, deciding second to second what pose to strike with or without accomplices? And then...
the wait for the magical strip of photos.
It's fascinating to find that this seemingly American invention was not invented by an American.
Even the history of the photobooth is filled with photos and ephemera about this "American" institution.
American Photobooth addresses this sociological phenomenon in a concise and fascinating way.
Who knew the depth of history to the everyday photobooth?
A great read and visual feast. A fabulous collection of photos, evoking the human spirit, its highs and lows.