vintage, nostalgia and memories


January 12, 2017

Before Cell Phones and Selfie Sticks, Here Are 10 Interesting Photo Booth Self-Portraits of Celebrities From Between the 1930s and '50s

Before selfie sticks, and before cell phones, there still was life! The agitations of great need for making self portraits has existed no doubt before this semi-delusional time, except of course there wasn't immediate and total access to the possibility of addressing the somewhat narco-curiosity to self aware recording. Nowadays you can have your own broadcasting service all about yourself all of the time and share it to yourself or to anyone else who can find your conceptual conceit--in the past, not so much so.


The antiquarian notation of the idea of the selfie finds itself in the invention of the photo booth. It is perhaps the first true invention that could address this notion of photographic self-allegiance, except that you can't fit it into your pocket like a cell/sel(f) phone because you fit inside of it. But it certainly was the only way that you could halfway address an instant need for making a photo of yourself, and do so without undue muss or fuss, and to be able to do it on your own.

The photo booth was the early version of radical expression of photographic self-interpretation made possible by a hands-free invention.

The results of the photo booth (around since about 1890 but not fabulously well accepted and ubiquitous until Mr. Anaotl Josepho with his Photomata in 1925) can be charming, and revealing, and be all that you wished it to be, or not.

Miles Davis, aged 9.

Yves Tanguy

Mel Ferrer, Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote

Elvis Presley

Marguerite Duras

Luis Bunuel

Andre Breton

Rene Magritte

Robert Johnson

Marilyn Monroe at age 12 in 1938.

(via JF Ptak Science Books)

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