Behind the Curtain: Gorgeous Vintage Photo Booth Art


Originally meant for official photographs and souvenir snapshots, the photo booth quickly became a beloved tool and source of inspiration for artists everywhere, who played with the concept of automatic portraiture and pushed the format as far as it could go. Our friends at Design Boom tipped us off to Behind the Curtain – the Aesthetics of the Photobooth, an exhibit of photo booth photography that opened yesterday at Swiss photography museum Musée de l’Elysée Lausanne. The exhibit explores photo booth photographs from artists like Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and André Breton, representing the medium’s presence not only in the Surrealist and Fluxus movements but across the aesthetic spectrum. Click through to see a few wonderful pieces from the exhibit, and if you find yourself in the area, be sure to check out the full show, running until May 20th.

“Jonathan, Mickael, Priscilla, cabine du photomaton [Jonathan, Mickael, Priscilla, photobooth]” by Mathieu Pernot, 1996 © Mathieu Pernot / Collection Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne

“Esposizione in tempo reale num. 4 : lascia su queste pareti una traccia fotografica del tuo passaggio, [Exhibition in real time : leave a photographic sign of your passage on these walls]” by Franco Vaccari, 1972 © Franco Vaccari, property of the artist

“Vohang [ Curtain ] from the series Instant History” by Jan Wenzel, 2009 © Jan Wenzel / Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs

left: “Ealter and I at the big slide, CA” by anonymous, 1970 © Collection Näkki Goranin right: “Selfportrait in a photobooth, CA” by Yves Tanguy, 1929 © Collection Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne / 2011, Prolitteris, Zurich

“Self portrait at 17 years old” by Gillian Wearing, 2003 © Gillian Wearing, courtesy Maureen Paley, London

“i.d. stack # 6,” Anne Deleporte, 1992 © Anne Deleporte

“Untitled” by Cindy Sherman, 1975 © Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, Collection Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne

“Collection of albums of purikuras, 1995 – 2010” by anonymous © Kenji Hirasawa

“Frances Lewis” by Andy Warhol, 1966 © Collection the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation / 2011, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York