Andy Warhol, Photo booth Strip (Holly Solomon 110), ca. 1964
Unidentified photographer, [Andre Breton], ca. 1929
Anatol Josepho, [Self-portrait of Anatol Josepho with Terrier], 1928-30
The original Photomaton was unveiled by Anatol Josepho in 1925 in a studio on Broadway, between 51st and 52nd streets. Josepho’s machine offered an “automatic” portrait, a unique positive black-and-white paper print, which appeared minutes after exposure. Studio, camera, and darkroom existed as a single entity, with no other human operator involved in the process. A year later Josepho sold his invention to a consortium of financiers and industrialists who in turn began a global franchise thath would make the Photomaton a ubiquitous amusement in arcades, fairs, and carnivals. Inexpensive, swift, and mechanical, photobooth images were antic and common compared to the gravity of a formal studio. The tiny, generic proscenium of the booth bore no direction other than the limitations of its size.