purikura: photo booth redesign in tokyo purikura: photo booth redesign in tokyo
nov 13, 2011

purikura: photo booth redesign in tokyo

inviting exteriors of photo booths in a shop in shibuya, tokyo image © designboom

we, as designers, are always intrigued by successful reinterpretations of technology. everybody has fond memories of the old photo booth, but has rarely needed to use one, perhaps only for passport images. in the past years, the once simplistic photographic form has been reinvented in japan to attract the young, fashionable female population. today the vast majority of photo booths are digital and offer photo stickers. known as ‘purikura’, the name is a shortened form of the registered trademark ‘purinto kurabu’, a term that is derived from the english ‘print club’. the first purikura machines were introduced in 1995. the redesign of the purikura with new outlets feature booth advance lighting systems and interactive software to enhance the experiential process.

detail of professional lighting within a photo booth, some are made to photograph two people, but some are larger to hold five or siximage © designboom

the inside is more technologically advanced than ever: a purikura booth makes use of professional instruments to alter the digital images in post-production. common effects include the addition of sparkles or cartoon images, eye-enlargement, color alteration and lash enhancement, note of location, date and time, change of hair-color, the addition of makeup, or color balance. each image may be transferred

to personal digital albums, stored on on’s cellphone or computer or in proper purikura albums. many girls carry a purikura photo album with them and any time they are out they make new purikura with their friends. they often have hundreds of photos in their albums. purikura (a set of 9 to 16) usually cost about 300-500 yen.

completed purikura sitcker image © designboom

names or a cute phrase can be written on the pictures before they are printed.

a group of friends at the purikura (see their purikura photos above) image © designboom

young people dressed in costumes, for a near-halloween purikura. we got to know many girls that are frequenting this new photographic medium on a bi-weekly basis. image © designboom

‘lady tokyo’ photo editing screen image © designboom

music is infused into several of the machines. some shops offer accessories, from feather boas to wigs to liven up pictures. each photo-booth is equipped with games and quizzes so that while the individual waits for their photos to develop, they may occupy themselves with these fun electronic diversions.

photo editing screen by ‘peach pink’ image © designboom

fashion bloggers in tokyo make use of the purikura photographing their outfit ‘coordinates’ for their websites image © designboom

obsession with purikura, tokyo residents heart their photo booths shops image © designboom

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