The Evolution of the Life of the Party: The Photo Booth

posted in: Read the blog | 0

In today’s age of Instagraming, Facebooking and Twitting, it’s no wonder why parties today such as weddings, birthdays and other social gatherings are made brighter by the photo booth. These parties come alive with guests lining up to the booths to create fun and happy memories on various joyous occasions. But did you know that the photo booth is a fairly old invention? It started out slow but eventually made it’s way as a staple at parties.
The very first photo booths were giant machines that were unreliable and were not self-sufficient as they were operated by technicians to capture and develop the photos. But in the 1920s, a man named Anatol Josepho gave us the modern concept of a photo booth that we know and love today. The concept of a self sufficient, fully automated and coin operated photo booth was born.
From then on, there was a widespread use of the photo booth in the general public. But these photo booths were not yet used in parties. They were mainly utilitarian. They are used to print out photos to be used for passports and identification. Traditionally, these photo booths contain the iconic bench and curtain wherein the patrons sit and have their photo taken. After payment in the coin slots a series of pictures will be captured, ranging from 3 to 8 photos per session. Though mainly for passports and identification, others use these photo booths for recreational purpose to create memories and help them materialize the moment.
During the 1950s, the Auto-Photo company started to market one of their earliest models, the Model 11A. This model was mainly designed to be used in police stations and take mug shots of perpetrators. This model is as basic as it gets. The curtains were removed and a background of the all-familiar height chart was used with it. These 800-pound machines were widely used until the 1990s and were replaced by the slightly modern digital image capture machines similar to photo booths.
In the 1950s, the photo booth also started to take off. A film entitled The Band Wagon starring the legendary Fred Astaire performed a dance number into a Photomatic, a popular automatic photo booth of the era. Fred Astaire sat inside the Photomatic had his picture taken and danced out of the photo booth. But perhaps the photo booth became really popular was in the work of the famous Andy Warhol. During the 1950s and 1960s, Andy saw what no one else did. He saw the photo booth as an affordable and a very effective camera that captures images that are both artistic and fun. He incorporated the photo strip into his artwork by expanding it and gave it life with colors and his signature style.
During the early 1990s to 2000s, a photo booth craze spread though out Asia. Countries like Japan, China, Taiwan and the Philippines were bitten by the photo booth sticker bug. Photo booth sticker machines are a special type of photo booth that is unlike any other. These machines are commonly seen in arcades and malls. Although similar in appearance from the conventional photo booth, these photo booth sticker machines are more of a novelty booth. It captures the photos digitally usually of a group of friends wherein they can also change the background and themes for a more fun shot. These were so popular that in Japan it had a cult following. The “Purikura” culture was born. This term, which roughly means “print club”, was very popular especially among the youth.
The all-familiar photo booth that are used in todays parties were developed in the 1990s as well. The Photo-Me marketed digital color photo booths using a computer and a printer that instantly prints out the photos in minutes.
Today, anyone with a computer, a digital camera, a photo printer with a basic knowledge of both the hardware and software can setup his/her own photo booth. In the late 2000s, this setup became hugely popular and successful. They became a staple in every party and social gathering. Most guests of the party look forward in having their photos taken in these machines that materialize their fun memories in the party.
The photo booth that we see today has evolved into different variations. The more traditional setup has a digital camera, a green/blue screen to customize the background, a photo printer and a box full of props ranging from wigs to full costumes. Another popular variation of the photo booth is the flipbook photo booth. The flip book photo booth uses a software wherein the guests captured with a short animation and play it back by flicking through the pages of a printed flip book. This kind of photo booth is steadily becoming popular as it shows animated movements with customizable fun backgrounds.
Photo booth is not only a great addition to parties; it has become a party necessity. One of the reasons that the photo booth is a necessary party item is that it keeps the guests mingling. It gives them something to do while waiting for the food, while waiting for the party to start and it also extends the party. The photo booth also makes the party a shareable experience. The memories can be shared both personally as the pictures can be shared among friends and of course online through various social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Lastly, the photo booth has become a party staple as it pumps up the fun factor. Although of course there is more to the photo booth than its entertainment value, the fun that it adds to the party is definitely still a factor. Yes, the photo booth will keep the guests busy and steer them away from boredom but it will also leave a lasting impression on the guests as it stands out and gave the guests a fun time. The modern photo booth has come a long way from a simple image capture and instant delivery of photos to a recreational machine that has become the life of the party.