The Long Way Home

Photo Booth Sunday
September 18, 2011, 8:44 AM
Filed under: Vintage Photo Album | Tags: , ,

pre-1925 penny strip

I took a chance a few years ago at a flea market and bought a batch of vintage photographs for a few dollars. In that group, I found the postcard above, with tiny photo booth-like pictures of a woman, posing for someone. Her boyfriend or husband? Herself? I love her expression in the far right picture, how she is somewhat unsure of the camera. And in examining how she cut and arranged the photos on the card, this was most likely the last photo taken in the series.

The photo booth came into existence in 1925, but her hairstyle and dress looks earlier to me. So where was this photo taken? Barbara Levine’s Snapshot Chronicles: Inventing the American Photo Album provides a few clues. She says that tiny photos like these were taken and processed by studios or itinerant photographers and collaged into pocket-sized albums. The placement of the photos in the albums suggested short animated films.

I also found a picture among Jeff’s family photos, taken in the 1950s (he isn’t quite sure who it is) , and included one of my mother from the early 1970s. I could do a whole photo series on her many hairstyles, they were pretty amazing.




Two by Two

I keep my vintage photos stacked neatly in a small black trunk that was the money box at our Halloween wedding. I am going through the process of arranging them in some kind of order. I shuffled through and made connections to see what I have been drawn to in saving and collecting: portraits, mainly women; clothing, because I’m obsessed with vintage;  black and white candids, because it’s so strange to see how photography evolved from the studio out into the world. 

The following are portraits I’ve found at flea markets, antique stores, yard sales and our own family archives.

a girl and her best friend, 1950s


my grandmother (1) and great aunt anne, 1930s


victorian sisters


edwardian twins


one eye, two eyes, three eyes by jeff schreckengost


victorian brothers


tintype sisters


daughter and mother? niece and aunt? sisters? 1920s


norwegian couple in north dakota


found in the pages of a scrapbook


bathing beauties, 1920s


jeff and sue in the g.c. murphy's photobooth, 1980s

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