International Photobooth Convention 2014

I’ve been holding fire a little before writing about the convention because I felt like there was such a lot to take in – I needed a little time to digest it all! It ended up feeling intensely personal for me.

I’ve long had the feeling that my love of photobooths is something silly, awkward, and immature. I tend to joke about it or feel self-conscious if I bang on about them too much; previous partners have found my love (obsession?) for them irritating, and I know I’ve tested the patience of various friends by insisting on one more visit, just one more visit…

So it was actually hugely significant to spend a weekend with other people who love photobooths just as much as I do. It felt both reassuring and massively inspiring to meet so many artists, enthusiasts, owners and experts – people who make their living from photobooths; people who’ve amassed incredible collections and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of their history; people who make beautiful images using the booth; and technicians who really understand the inner workings of the different models.

I felt a little shy when I first arrived – how convenient to be in a room full of booths I could play with! Which is exactly what I did, making this:

But I soon felt very involved, not least because of everyone’s warmth, and kindness, and general photobooth enthusiasm! People had travelled from all over to be there. I felt really excited to meet Tim & Brian – the dedicated pair behind – along with the other organisers, Anthony & Meags.

Anthony runs A&A Studios in Chicago with his wife Andrea – a genuinely creative space with eight different working booths that we were free to use all weekend, along with a couple of original Photomatics, various retired booths, spare parts and cameras galore: analogue heaven.

Meags is an illustrator and author from Canada who creates some beautiful photobooth art and animations. It was fab to meet them both.

I was also lucky enough to spend some time with Nakki Goranin, author of American Photobooth, along with so many others whose passion was infectious and involving. Mostly, I felt as though I had immense fun with kindred spirits for three days straight. That doesn’t often happen with a room full of strangers.

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