blog2The first automated photo machines appeared at the World Fair in Paris in 1889 but they were not stand alone booths. The first modern machine, the way we think of them now, appeared on Broadway in New York City in 1925. The invention of Anatol Josepho, a Russian immigrant. Anatol called the machines ’Photomaton’ and charged 25 cents for 8 photographs. In the first six months after the booth was erected, it was used 280,000 times. Just 2 years later Anatol sold the rights to his Photomaton machines and they began to appear all over the world.

The 20th century saw the emergence of the traditional photo booth that most people are familiar with. Most of these booths contained a simple seat just big enough for one or two for posing, a curtain for privacy and a film camera that took a series of 3 to 8 photos, each preceded by a loud buzzing noise.

Film was typically developed in a few minutes after the shoot and was a process involving wet chemistry that took several minutes to complete. Classic style photos came in a row or strip of approximately 40 mm wide by 205 mm long and contained 4 poses.

Photo booths have come quite a ways from the early machines of the 20th century. We’ve watched our prints become digitalized and seen develop times decrease to under 15 seconds. In fact, every aspect of the photo booth is now under computer control. Most offer users the choice of not only black and white or color, but also, postcards, stickers and other trendy items with decorative borders around the photo. As with most other important changes in our world, technology has spurred bigger, better and often easier products. As we look to the future, we can only imagine what the innovators of the next decade will have in store for our photo-crazed society. While we may not know what stands on the horizon for the photo booth, we will certainly be standing in line to try it out.

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