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Prompted By Photo Booths

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Those old-time photo booths were great

in the days when we didn’t have cameras.

I have a strip of photos with my college boyfriend,

black and white,

I can see them in my mind.

I wonder where they are.

Photo booths were great in the days when we didn't have cameras - black and white photo strips preserved our memories.















Now there are photo machines at conferences, bar mitzvahs, weddings

Out in the open, not really booths any more

Often with props – feather boas, hats, sunglasses

They produce a strip of photos like a photo booth.

But it’s not the same when you don’t all cram into a booth,

And close the curtain.

Alone in your own little photo booth world.

      • * * *

RetroFlash/ 100 words


Profile photo of Suzy Suzy

Characterizations: funny, moving, right on!, well written


  1. John Shutkin says:

    Just a great, evocative RetroFlash, Suzy — to say nothing of the terrific photo booth photos you’ve included. (Though it would have been fun if you’d found the ones from college, too. Black and white — how very Retro!) And the cramming part reminds me of some of the adventures we had fitting everyone in my tiny Karmann Ghia in college, though no one ever snapped a photo of that so far as I know.

    You also reminded me, in the second stanza, of where I had actually seen my last photo booth. It was at the gala dinners for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater that we would attend when we lived out there. They set up a photo booth and offered an array of costumes and props to pose with — which, as you can imagine for a theater company, was extensive and elaborate. I was sorely tempted to pose, but my wife is not big on photos of herself — even in disguise — so we just watched other guests pose and occasionally offered them tips or assistance (especially the more inebriated of them).

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks, John. I think the college ones will turn up eventually, if I ever get around to organizing my photos (something I said I would do when I retired — 15 years ago!) Those Milwaukee Rep photo booths must have been amazing, with all the theatrical costumes and props. If you ever find yourself in a situation like that again, and Kathie won’t pose, you should get a group of guys together and take a photo, just for the experience!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Great Flash, Suzy, thinking out loud about the fun of cramming into a photo booth and how they’ve changed at the parties you attend. I love how your expression and attitude changes in the first series you display, showing the full gambit of photo booth ‘tude.

  3. Wonderful RetroFlash Suzy, and so true – it’s not the same!

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks, Dana. Not the same, but still a lot of fun IMO. And at a wedding I went to (where the two strips of four-person groups were taken), they asked people to take one strip and drop the other one in a box, thereby giving the bride and groom a great collection of photos of the wedding guests.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    I didn’t realize that there were makeshift booths for parties and events—maybe because I haven’t been to enough in recent years. But I am impressed by your great photo strips—and I especially like the kiss :). And isn’t a retro”flash”perfect for a photography prompt!

    • Suzy says:

      I’ve only been to one wedding in recent years, but many bar and bat mitzvahs, and also a Women of Reform Judaism conference where they had a photo booth. The women at the conference really got into all the hats and props – if I find that photo strip I will add it to the story.

      Thanks for pointing out that a “flash” is perfect for a photograph prompt. 🙂

  5. Adorable…the first strip definitely embodies the prelude to that kiss! I do hope you come across the old black-and-white strips…you can always update your story. And just think, some day these more modern photo booth photos will also have an air of nostalgia about them with all the props, fancy borders, and titles. Then and now, we were definitely having fun!

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks, Barb. Love the idea that some day these more modern photo booth photo strips will be the ones people are nostalgic about. And yes, definitely having fun all the time!

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Perfect Retroflash, Suzy. I agree with you 100%. It’s not the same as cramming into the little booth and being silly but not knowing when the camera will flash. Love your pictures!

  7. Dave Ventre says:

    I get the impression that the booths are still out there, but I can’t recall having seen one for years. I’ll have to be on the lookout.

  8. I think your fan base would welcome if you found and posted the strip of you and your college boyfriend. You say that you can “see [the strip] in your mind.” What do you see? Joy and permanence? A frozen moment in a shifting time? Some blur?
    Just out of curiosity, do you have one box marked “College”, or do you have scattered droplets of memorabilia, or otherwise? Do you have one box (container) for “all-time commemoratives” which cull the best from high school, college, hitchhiking to Woodstock, etc., to make it easy on your biographer/eulogist/children/self, or do you keep the segments segmented? Do you have a recommendation on what to keep and why and where?

    • Suzy says:

      As always, Jon, such a clever comment. I see joy in that strip, and maybe the illusion of permanence. At a different time, we would have gotten married after college, but in 1972 we were both anti-marriage. I often wonder what that life would have been like.

      I do not have boxes marked anything. Scattered memorabilia is more like it. I wish I were better organized with my photos and other souvenirs. Retrospect and Facebook are the only places where my pictures are organized, and my letters are in shopping bags, so my biographer/eulogist/children will have their work cut out for them.

      • Love the energy of your group pics, Suzy. And isn’t it strange to have such clear memories of an image on an old photo strip. We store reality in boxes, but memory floats in and out of focus like an underwater dream. Would have loved to see those original booth pics.

  9. Flash goes the camera, flash goes your piece! Perfect and such high energy. I love your collection of pictures and it reminds me I have some glam shots of my mother she must have done in a booth in the 40s. Fun! Thanks.

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