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Prompted By Photo Booths

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When I was a child, I remember begging my parents to let me take my picture in photo booths that populated museums, shopping malls, and tourist attractions. They always said no because it was a waste of money. They had a perfectly good camera and took pictures of my brothers and me frequently. So, it wasn’t until I was a teen shopping with friends that we crammed ourselves into that small booth for a strip of funny pictures that we shared. I wish I had kept them.

There was something about cramming into a small booth that made the old photo booths special.

The first pictures I did hold onto were of my husband and me on the way to and from our honeymoon (featured image). Without a smart phone, how else were we supposed to get pictures of the two of us? We could have asked a stranger to take our picture, but we were using a borrowed camera and couldn’t take a chance of losing it. Those strips of pictures are still my favorite. In contrast to our formal wedding photos, they were fun and captured a special moment in time.

Modern version uploaded to my iPhone


With props at a party

While photo booths are still popular today, I mainly see them at parties. While they maintain the feeling of spontaneity and, in the case of those that offer props, silliness, there was something about cramming into a small booth that made the older ones special. This photo booth style collage of my granddaughter captures the feeling I remember from the pictures that made me laugh and then were casually tossed aside or lost.

Captures the spirit of the old photo booth

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Your honeymoon photos are priceless, Laurie. Love the “Jackie” pillbox hat. You two were glorious and I understand the desire for photos together. I have only two photos from my honeymoon; one of me and one of Dan – none of us together, so I get your desire.

    The rest of the photos do capture that old flair and dress-up fun that was created within the privacy of the booth, even if taken at a party. Thanks for sharing all these fun moments.

  2. Wonderful Laurie, I can see why you treasure those honeymoon photo booth shots as much as your formal wedding album photos!

    And your granddaughter’s shots are priceless!

  3. Suzy says:

    Oh Laurie, those photos in your featured image are fabulous! Love your hat, and your hands making him smile. You were both so beautiful it is breathtaking! The more recent ones are fun – I too posted some with props at parties, and I think that’s a great modern innovation. Since two identical strips come out of the machine, the bride and groom at a wedding I attended asked everyone to leave one of the strips in a box they provided, so then they had adorable photos of all the wedding guests.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Thanks, Suzy! The ones in the bottom strip in costumes were from our granddaughters’ B’not Mitzvah. The family also got copies of everything. I think they were digital. At any rate they are great frun to look nat and remember that special event. If we had the right prompt, I could share what a special event that was for all of us.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    What great pictures! The honeymoon ones really captured your spirit, and the silver
    Jubilee comparison shows you both smiling after sharing a life together. And of course the little one mugging is too precious. Don’t throw those away.

  5. I love how you (or someone) created a collage with those ADORABLE honeymoon photos! Like you, I think half the fun was cramming into that tiny booth, and making silly faces, but the evolution into full scale productions with props and titles can still capture the spontaneous energy. Good times either way!

  6. John Shutkin says:

    This is just a great story and photo collection, Laurie. You have, delightfully, followed a photo booth path over the years that I somehow failled to ever get on.

    And I can’t even pick a favorite among your photos — though maybe your wedding ones and your adorable granddaughter are in a tie. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Thanks, John. Modern photo booths are not nearly as much fun as the old ones, but I have very few of those pictures. I think the ones I took with friends were not valuable to us. We shared them or tossed them. I can’t remember. I also took some with the pictured granddaughter but couldn’t find those. But the slide of her that my daughter made for a lecture on emotions captured the feeling of making outrageous faces in those cramped quarters.

  7. Dave Ventre says:

    Love the featured image. Hundreds of our old family pix taken between the ’30s and ’60s were lost in a basement flood one year. I mourn the loss more and more as the years pass and the people in them do too.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      That is indeed a sad loss. I’m sorry and feel lucky that I inherited all of the photos from my family and my husbands. No one else wanted them at the time, but since our parents died, I have scanned many of them to share.

  8. I love your honeymoon pics (among other things, like Betsy, I love your pillbox hat).

  9. Laurie, you capture the fun and spontaneity, yes, the preciousness of those moments! And the pictures of your granddaughter say it all. So dear.

  10. I also think she’s freer than we used to be. They used to say boys would make faces at the camera–felt confident enough to do so, but girls always went for smiley/pretty/good girl. Love to see her rambunctious approach to the camera.

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