We Make Our Own Fun
There’s a world full of imaginative people out there. Everyone knows someone who has impressed them in one way or another with a thought, an idea, product or a service. You don’t have to be highly educated or specialize in a particular area, although naturally that can help it really comes down to a fertile imagination.
I’ve found incredible stories from ordinary people who are destined to make a difference. Sometimes the difference made are not earthshaking but simply just fun. Take the photo booth as an example.
The first “photo booth” was never called a photo booth and has roots going back to the early part of the 20th century. The name came along as a description rather than as an initial title. There is no specific chronology available of the origins of the coin-operated automated self-portrait device anywhere.
One testimonial gives Percival Everett credit for inventing a coin-operated, picture taking vending machine in 1883. This was at the beginning of all things vending machine. A craze of vending machines dispensing everything from postcards to photographs hit the public with a fervor. The photo vending machine became a central attraction for fun lovers and memory seekers alike.
To be fair there was a time when tintypes were very much in favor in the mid 1800’s, but were not taken exactly the same as a vending machine that dispensed your picture for a coin. The tintype was the first medium of sequential portraiture and entrepreneurs set up booths at fair grounds and city parks. They were very popular since operators were barely needed, it became more daring to take things into your own hands. The operators moved from town to town often following fairs from county to county. So in a way these were the first photo booth debuts.
Several different names were assigned to what we know today as the plain, simple photo booth. Names like the Quartermatic, Tru-Photo Machine and Auto-Photo-Dome to mention a few, with my favorite being the Photo Photosnap.
History gives credit for the first patent filed in 1888 by William Pope and Edward Poole but there was no hard evidence that an actual booth had been built. They may have had a good idea, but apparently never followed up on it.
People on both sides of the Atlantic were infatuated with the idea of putting a coin in a machine and getting a string of photographs in return. That interest has grown albeit slowly, but non-stop. Interesting sidenote: There are three to four times as many photo booths in the UK than all of the US.
Somehow photo booths not only made their appearance they were refined and redesigned over the years to resemble what we know today.
They fell out of favor mostly due to the Polaroid instant camera. Families could take a shot and have nearly instant developed pictures without being anywhere near a coin operated automated photo machine.
Until recently photo booths were mostly used for identification pictures on documents like passports and drivers licenses. They never completely disappeared from the social scene however, and are enjoying a sweet return to popularity. The not to be forgotten photo booth is now popular with private party goers. While they could still be found in the recesses of the carnival grounds at present they are likely show up at wedding receptions, family reunions, birthday bashes the list is endless. If there’s a reason to party there’s a reason to hire a photo booth and let the silliness begin.
Personally I think its a great idea to bring the old into the new. If it pleased us once simply because it brought fun into our lives, then I say hooray for modernizing the sentiment. The more ways we can think of to have fun – I say – the better. Say cheese.