Category:

Visual Documentation

From Atlas Obscura:

The Twilight of the Analog Photo Booth

The effort to save a rare beast on the road to extinction.

On a recent Saturday morning in New York, the analog photo booth in the Ace Hotel on 29th Street was out of order. Inside the booth, which costs $5 plus tax for a strip of four black-and-white photographs (cards accepted), a piece of paper hung askew atop the mirror, level with the sign reading “EYE LEVEL.” “Sorry, I’m broken …” it read. “I’ll be better soon. XO, Ace.” Barely a dozen of these film-based photo booths remain in the city, a fact that would have been inconceivable as recently as the 1990s.

In September 1925, the crowds stretched around the block for the first ever Photomaton studio, 30 blocks north of the present site of the Ace Hotel, at 51st Street and Broadway. Each subject paid 25 cents, was bathed in flashes of light, and waited eight minutes for a strip of eight photographs. Eighteen months later, the New York Times reported, “Young Photomaton Inventor Will Celebrate His First Million.” In today’s money, this would be close to $14 million.

Anatol Josepho, the inventor of the "Photomaton" photo booth that debuted in September 1925 at 1659 Broadway in New York City.
Anatol Josepho, the inventor of the “Photomaton” photo booth that debuted in September 1925 at 1659 Broadway in New York City. Library of Congress/LC-DIG-ggbain-25079

The inventor, Anatol Josepho, was born in 1894, and came from nothing. Josepho, né Josephowitz, grew up a banished Jew in Siberia. At 15, he went off to explore the world, starting in Berlin, where he bought a Brownie camera and learned to take photographs. Later, he took it to Budapest, to Shanghai, and eventually to New York. In Harlem, in 1925, he raised the $11,000 required to build a prototype for the first curtain-enclosed photo booth—the cost of nearly six reasonably sized houses at that time. Josepho was charming, and obsessed with the project, writes photographer Näkki Goranin. Despite being a newcomer to the city, “[he] was able to talk people into loaning him the money, find the appropriate machinists and engineers to help him build his Photomaton machine, and be sought out by the leading industrialists in America.”

Josepho stood on the shoulders of decades of tinkerers who had been flirting with this technology since the 1880s, when a craze for vending machines of all kinds, including seltzer, chocolate, and postcards, seized Europe and America. Concurrently, photographic technology was developing at a galloping pace. Some early booths offered prints for a penny, others unreliable tintypes with near-unrecognizable subjects. Throughout the 1920s, the technology was becoming more and more refined—until, in 1925, Josepho patented the booth that set the standard for the next 90 years.

Two friends pose for a picture in a photo booth, date unknown.
Two friends pose for a picture in a photo booth, date unknown. simpleinsomnia/CC BY 2.0

Before long the photo booth was everywhere: malls, bars, airports, post offices, Fred Astaire films. In the United States, they were often owned by the company PhotoMe, says Tim Garrett, an artist who co-runs the site Photobooth.Net with friend and colleague Brian Meacham.

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The page, http://www.vintag.es/2015/11/rarely-seen-autochrome-photos-of-new.html , claims to display

Rarely Seen Autochrome Photos of New York in the Early 20th Century .

The images themselves span 18 years, from the earliest one dated with the year 1900, to the last, a photo of buildings with banners and signs exhorting the public to buy war bonds, with the date given as 1918. Not all of them are from New York City, several are attributed to places in Upstate New York. Though they are lovely to look at, and a few provide a glimpse of what everyday life for everyday people looked like in the thick of NYC, some people who have written into the comments section have revealed that the provenance of the images is not in all cases what the site represented them to be: some are not genuine Autochrome images at all, but colorized photos or lantern slides, and the one of two men playing chess was reportedly taken in Germany, not New York. Here are the comments, correcting some of the attributions of the images:

Some of these are not original autochromes but colorised black and white photos, e.g. the couple in Saratoga Springs, which is a detail from a colorisation by Sanna Dullaway: http://sannadullaway.com/0r…

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A number of critical errors. Image #1 (from the top down) is not an autochrome. Images #2 & 3 are autochromes by Charles Zoller (Rochester, NY). Image #4 is not an autochrome. Image #5 ( Foolish House) is an autochrome by Zoller. Images 6, 7, 8, & 9 are not autochromes. Image #10 (rooftops) is an autochrome in the collection of Wm. B. Becker and should be credited to him. Images 11, 12, 13, & 14 are by Zoller. All the Zoller autochromes are owned by the George Eastman Museum and should be credited to them. Image # 15 (chess players) is probably by Alfred Stieglitz or possibly by Edward Steichen and was taken in Germany. The last image (war bond rally) is an autochrome by J. D. Willis from the collection of Mark Jacobs.
Nearly all the non-autochrome images identified in this post are actually black & white lantern slides that have been digitally colored

 

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    Right! 6-7-8-9 are not color photographs at all, but Photochrom prints made from black and white negatives. You can see the originals online at the Library of Congress — the process is explained here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures…

    And if you’re interested in real Autochromes, including the rare New York rooftops image (#10 above), see the original postings online at the American Museum of Photography: http://photographymuseum.co…

 

 

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From The Observer

By Ann Votaw 10/20/2017

I have a soft spot for cemeteries.

Recently, I posted an Instagram photo of a crumbling headstone and got a like from Jolene Lupo, a stranger of the alive variety.

But upon closer inspection of her profile pic—a black and white of a marble-eyed brunette—I wondered if Lupo might not be a phantom.

My sleuthing revealed Lupo was not a hallucination but the tintype studio manager of Penumbra Foundation, a Manhattan nonprofit dedicated to historical photography. The more I scrolled through her feed, the more I became enchanted with tintypes—kind-of like metal Polaroids of the mid-1800s.

As the child of antique fanatics, I grew up going to flea markets. Yet I was familiar with tintypes of whiskered soldiers, not the bearded hipsters I saw on Penumbra’s accounts.

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Description

Following the trauma of the Civil War, the intersection of mourning on a national scale with the new technology of photography gave rise to a chilling phenomenon: “spirit photography,” the supposed art of capturing departed loved ones on film. Author and curator of religion at the National Museum of American History, Peter Manseau, shares the story of infamous spirit photographer William Mumler, the fraud allegations that haunted him, and a nation grasping for the promise of the afterlife.

Book Talk: The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost
Tuesday, October 24
Doors: 6:00 pm
Event: 6:30 pm
$5 General Admission / Free for Members

BHS Members: to reserve tickets at the member price, click on “Tickets” and enter your Member ID on the following page after clicking on “Enter Promotional Code.”

Date and Time

Tue, October 24, 2017

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

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Location

Brooklyn Historical Society

128 Pierrepont St

Brooklyn, NY 11201

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REFUND POLICY Brooklyn Historical Society requires 24 hours notice before the date of the event to refund a ticket. No refunds are provided after that point. No refunds are provided on the day of the event and all subsequent days.

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Fashionably Strange: A History of Victorian Creepiness

October 22
Public

Hosted by Quimby’s Bookstore

Sunday, October 22 at 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
2 days from now · 17–22°Partly Cloudy
Details
Fashionably Strange: A History of Victorian Creepiness
A talk/slide show by J.R. Pepper
“There’s a general consensus in film and media that Victorians were a bit… odd to say the least. But what did they do that made them so odd, so strange, so creepy?
From professional mourning clothing, taxidermy, and an obsession with death to bizarre photography and fashionable communication with the spirit world, there’s no doubt that the Victorians were decidedly creepy. In this talk we will explore what made the Victorians the true masters of the macabre.”…

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Thursday Oct 19, 2017
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

POWERHOUSE @ the Archway
28 Adams Street (Corner of Adams & Water Street @ the Archway)
Brooklyn , NY 11201

powerHouse Book Launch: STREET: New York City – 70s, 80s, 90s by Carrie Boretz — in conversation w/ Mark Bussell

 

RSVP appreciated:

Please fill out the “Bookings” form at the bottom of this page.

-or-

Send the name of the event and number of attendees to our RSVP email.
*Disregard the notification that will appear after Booking.*

PLEASE NOTE: Submitting an RSVP for this event DOES NOT guarantee entrance. This is a free-access event — entrance will be on a first-come, first-served basis.


 

About the Book:

The photographs in Street were taken by Carrie Boretz in New York City from the mid 1970s through the 1990s. It is common knowledge that the city was on rocky ground for many of those years but these are not pictures filled with drama or strife. Instead Boretz was always more interested in the subtle and familiar moments of everyday life in the various neighborhoods where she lived, before much of the graffiti was scrubbed away and the city sanitized and reborn to what it has since become.

For so many living in and visiting New York today, it is forgotten or altogether not known how different so many parts of the city were during that time. Many of these pictures show the reality of the streets then, where every day workers, the homeless, the affluent, and tourists all shared the common space, providing examples of how one of the greatest cities in the world was one often filled with contradictions. But there is also a timeless element to these images as children still play in the parks, streets, and schoolyards, commuters still face the elements daily as they wait, there are still regular demonstrations and parades, and the whole spectrum of the joys and pitfalls of humanity are still visible most anywhere a person looks.

For Boretz nothing was scripted, it all played out right before her. As Patti Smith said, “You need no rationale, no schooling. It’s love at first sight. You see something and you have to capture it. Instinctive, bang, you feel one with it.” Indeed, Boretz doesn’t have a philosophy about shooting other than trusting her instinct: she saw, she shot, she moved on, always looking for moments that made her heart beat faster. It was the continual rush of knowing that at any time she could come upon something real and beautiful. That is why and how she shot and why and how her Street is so special.

 

About the Photographer:

After graduating in 1975 from Washington University in St. Louis Carrie Boretz began her life as a New York City photographer a week later, landing an internship at the Village Voice. Over the next decade she photographed for The New York Times MagazineNew YorkSports Illustrated, People, Fortune, and Life. By the 1990s she was shooting almost daily for the New York Times‘s “Day” beat, one picture that revealed a slice of the city on that particular day.…

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From huck magazine:

The photographer who defined old-school cool

Street symphony

Posted
Text by Alex King
Photography © Jamal Shabazz

Jamel Shabazz has spent his life documenting the city that never sleeps. But while his shots of urban street style have become iconic, the bigger picture – a world of police and prostitutes, drifters and dancers – reveals something much deeper: a commitment to community.

It’s early morning in Rikers Island jail and a young corrections officer named Jamel Shabazz has just begun his first inspection. The residential wing is so hot that the stench of stale cigarettes and dead rodents hangs heavily.

There is a line of 30 units on both sides of the corridor, each one of them holding a juvenile inmate who may have trashed his cell, retreated to a corner or hung himself with a bed sheet.

“To make a physical count, you have to make sure a body is in each cell,” Jamel explains. And there is an abundance of bodies.

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It’s the mid-1980s and a crack epidemic is sweeping through New York City, generating a wave of violence that’s carrying thousands of young black men into the city’s prisons and morgues.

“It felt like being in a lifeboat watching a sinking ship and you can only help so many people,” says Jamel, thinking back to that time.

“But it didn’t stop me from going to work every single day looking for someone to connect with and provide direction to.”

Working in prison made Jamel’s mission clear to him: he became determined to steer young men away from ruining their lives, feeding a vicious cycle of regret. And it didn’t take long for him to realise how he’d do that.

Jamel_Shabazz_Little_Big_Man
Think of old-school hip hop and, chances are, you will conjure up one of Jamel Shabazz’s unforgettable portraits. Jamel came of age during the birth of rap in mid-70s New York. He remembers block parties in Coffey Park, Brooklyn, where a group of DJs and MCs would “hot-wire” the electricity supply of a lamppost to keep the party going long into the night.

His photobook Back in the Days immortalises the b-boys, boomboxes and big hair of 1980s New York City in one cornerstone document. But the purpose behind these images has often gone overlooked.

“I don’t get caught up on the fashion,” he says. “My photographs have always been about the personal connections I make in my attempt to communicate what’s going on in the streets.”

Rush-Hour-2
Jamel’s new book, Sights in the City, aims to redress that balance by showcasing his street photography in one place for the first time. It spans the duration of his career and illuminates the complex city that has defined his life.

Growing up in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, Jamel discovered photography through his father, a naval combat photographer who taught him to carry a loaded camera at all times.

Initially borrowing his mother’s cheap Kodak, the 15-year-old began directing groups of his friends into poses and developing a signature style.

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Tue 10 2017 , by

Meet Me Downtown

Local Photographer’s work on exhibit at Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts

80 Hanson Place The work will be on view weekdays during regular building hours. (At least till Friday, 20th of October 2017)

Joel Barhamand is a Downtown Brooklyn based photographer whose work has highlighted the ongoing changes in the neighborhood. His photographs were featured in the New York Times article “Fulton Mall, Amid Change”, and his work will now be presented at the 80 Arts Building. Join for light refreshments and the opportunity to meet the photographer himself as part of the Culture Forward Festival.

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With the New York Adventure Club:

Behind-the-Scenes @ Woodlawn Cemetery & Locked Gilded Age Family Mausoleums

Step inside some of the country’s most opulent family mausoleums that are rarely unlocked for the public, until now.

Join New York Adventure Club for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience at Woodlawn Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in New York City covering more than 400 acres and serving as the resting place for more than 300,000 people.

Sat. Oct. 21: 3pm-5pm

Woodlawn Conservancy

3800 Jerome Avenue

Bronx, NY 10467

Led by a cemetery docent, our unique experience will include:

 

  • The history and story of Woodlawn Cemetery, and how it became the favored cemetery of so many prominent NYC families from the late 1800s to early 1900s
  • An exploration of the cemetery’s grounds to see some of its most notable mausoleums, sculptures, and landscapes
  • Exclusive access inside some of its most impressive Gilded Age family mausoleums including Harkness, Harbeck, and Dunlop, which contain Tiffany glass, Italian marble, and even a dead parrot

 

Click here to see pictures from one of our last trips to Woodlawn Cemetery!

* Please bring a good pair of walking shoes since we’ll be on our feet for the entirety of the tour!

 


 

Disclaimer

By attending a New York Adventure Club experience, you accept our terms of service.

Categories: Tours, Active, Historic Sites

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