black photo booth


words by Mariame Kaba

The photo booth was particularly popular during the 1940s, '50s and '60s.

After World War II, more than 30,000 photo booths could be found in dime stores, train stations and various tourist destinations.

The Photomaton cost $1,000 to make and was built in a loft in Harlem. It proved so successful that Josepho was paid $1 million (around $12 million today) plus future royalties for the right to mass produce his photo booth.

By September 1925 he opened the Photomaton Studio at Broadway and 51st Street in New York City and with three booths, attracted as many as 7,500 people a day leading to 280,000 customers in the first six months. The Broadway store was open till 4 a.m., with much of the business taking place at night. For 25 cents, you would receive a strip of eight photos in eight minutes.

Black Photo Booth is a sample of my collection of portraits. I don't collect to keep items in a shoebox or in storage out of public view. I collect things as a way to spark conversation, to teach, to provoke, and to delight. I hope that you enjoy this offering.

design by neta bomani