behind the curtain: the aesthetics of the photo booth
original content
feb 17, 2012
behind the curtain: the aesthetics of the photo booth


‘jonathan, mickael, priscilla, cabine du photomaton [jonathan, mickael, priscilla, photobooth]‘ by mathieu pernot, 1996
three gelatin silver prints
540 x 195 cm
© mathieu pernot / collection musée de l’elysée, lausanne

behind the curtain: the aesthetics of the photobooth
musée de l’elysée lausanne, lausanne, switzerland
february 17th, 2012 until may 20th, 2012

an exhibition of historical photo booth photographic works are on display at musée de l’elysée lausanne. the collection of images
have been assembled to depict the development and inherent quality of the photo booth aesthetic. the installation includes over
600 pieces from artists such as andy warhol, gillian wearing, cindy sherman, jürgen klauke, and franco vaccari, whose work aids
in the comprehension of the impact this style has had upon photography from its origin to contemporary times.

curators clément chéroux and sam stourdzé have gathered visuals to investigate what they see to be the six major themes of
the photo booth aesthetic. firstly, a compilation of artists seek to answer the appeal of the booth as an isolated space for reflection–
‘a modern confessional’. then, the notion of ‘automatism’ in the authentic quality of this instantaneous photo-mechanism.
following these two points, the spatial orientation and duplication of printed images on the iconic photo booth strip shape is interpreted
by several artists. the notions of: ‘who am i?’, ‘who are you?’, ‘who are we?’, all investigate the earlier mentioned qualities of
the photo booth as an ideal tool and setting to stage for both introspection and reflection upon the other.


‘collection of albums of purikuras, 1995 – 2010′ by anonymous
collection of digital images printed on stickers mounted in booklets
various sizes from 9 x 12.8 cm to 11.9 x 14.5 cm
© kenji hirasawa (art collector)


‘untitled’ by cindy sherman, 1975
gelatin silver print
30.5 x 20.4 cm
© courtesy of the artist, metro pictures, collection musée de l’elysée, lausanne


left: ‘walter and i at the big slide, ca’ by anonymous, 1970, gelatin silver print ca., 20.5 x 3.8 cm
© collection näkki goranin
right: ‘selfportrait in a photobooth, ca’ by yves tanguy, 1929, gelatin silver print, 20.5 x 3.8 cm
© collection musée de l’elysée, lausanne / 2011, prolitteris, zurich

when the first photobooths were set up in paris in 1928, the
surrealists used them heavily and compulsively.
in a few minutes, and
for a small price, the machine offered them, through a portrait, an
experience similar
to automatic writing
.’ -musée de l’lysée lausanne


‘frances lewis’ by andy warhol, 1966
acrylic and silkscreen on linen, 12 panels
162.5 x 167.6 cm
© collection the sydney and frances lewis foundation / 2011, the andy
warhol foundation for the visual arts, inc. / artists rights society
(ars), new york


‘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
collage of photobooths mounted on cardboard, gelatin silver prints
45.5 x 58.5 cm (details)
© franco vaccari, property of the artist


‘self portrait at 17 years old’ by gillian wearing, 2003
framed c-type print, 115.5 x 92 cm
collection of contemporary art fundació ‘la caixa‘, barcelone
© gillian wearing, courtesy maureen paley, london


‘i.d. stack # 6′, anne deleporte, 1992
stack of photobooth portraits, gelatin silver and chromogenic prints
6 x 5 x 3 cm
© anne deleporte


‘vohang [ curtain ] from the series instant history’ by jan wenzel, 2009
montage of four photobooth prints, chromogenic prints
41.7 x 31.7 cm
© jan wenzel / kleinschmidt fine photographs

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