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Photobooth: A Biography
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Photobooth: A Biography

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  60 reviews
For almost a century chemical photobooths have occupied public spaces; giving people the opportunity to quickly take inexpensive, quality photos. In the last decade these machines have started to rapidly disappear, causing an eclectic group of individuals from around the world to come together and respond. Illustrator, writer and long-time photobooth lover, Meags Fitzgeral ...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published May 8th 2014 by Conundrum Press (Canada)
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David Schaafsma
I read this because I had just read Darkroom, am interested in photography, and well, I am of an age to recall photobooths being everywhere, and myself and my sister getting these strips of improvised goofiness. I was unprepared for the intensity of this project from Fitzgerald, whose passion for photobooths changed her life in many ways.

I was reminded of Susan Orleans's The Orchard Thief. When I began reading it I had no interest in orchids, and essentially never did develop any real interest,
Totally fascinating history of a technology/niche culture/phenomenon, woven with the personal connections of the author.
Timely, as the author cites that chemical (as opposed to digital) photobooths are expected to go extinct in 2015 (THIS YEAR!), as the chemicals required to make them work are going to run out. One required chemical is illegal in Europe, which complicates the issue further. We have one of these rare chemical photobooths in Olympia at the Brotherhood bar downtown.

Fitzgerald inclu
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Photobooth: A Biography is a unique history of a machine and of a woman. From a young age, Meags Fitzgerald enjoyed snapping personal photos in the photobooths in and around Edmonton, Alberta. Her interest moves into passion, then obsession with photobooth and their history, and even a kind of activism to save them from "extinction". Fitzgerald charts the story of Anatol Josepho, the inventor of the photobooth, melding this with her own biography. She traces her time in art school when instructo ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I bought a copy from Strange Adventures Comics in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I love film photography and super 8 filmmaking myself, so photobooths fascinate me as well but as this book points out, the digital age is slowly pushing them "out of the picture". Photobooth was brilliant and definitely worth reading.
Book Riot Community
Once again I have evidence that Meags Fitzgerald and I are living parallel lives. This book began with a love for photobooths that started when she was a teenager, and that’s something I can certainly identify with, although I dare say my love didn’t turn into a full on obsession which fueled Meags to travel Europe and North America and change the direction of her career for years. The end result of all that research, travelling, and life experience is this book, which is the oddest amalgamation ...more
Once again, Meags Fitzgerald appears to be writing about my own life, although her interest in, and dare I say obsession with, photobooths went much farther than mine ever did. But this did feel very nostalgic for me, as my friends and I were super into photobooths in high school and our early twenties, doing the same kind of things Meags did, bringing props to orchestrate these elaborate performances. My fridge is full of them to this day. A fascinating exploration of the history of photobooths ...more
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An absolute essential read for anyone who has appreciated the quality of drawing back the curtain in a dip-and-dunk photobooth over the years. A lovely personal journey of a lovely and talented person with a real passion for photobooths. The fact that this is Fitzgerald's first foray into the world of graphic novels (after working as an illustrator and designer for years) makes the great storytelling all the more striking. I love, love, love this book.

I say all of this from a completely biased p
lucy  black
I thought this would be one of those non fiction in-depth books that although I’m not that interested in the subject the writing and art would be sufficient to keep me interested. It wasn’t one of those.
I got bored. It was too in-depth, the side stories weren’t compelling enough either. I got sick of her love for photobooths and didn’t have sympathy for her sadness that they are going away. She came across as really privileged and whiney at times.
Her art is amazing and her layouts are interesti
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had never really thought anything about photo booths. This graphic novel changed that. I had never pondered their history, their place in the world, or how chemical changes and the advent of digital photography threatened their existence. The author tells a compelling story full of research, passion, and a dynamic picture of a unknown subculture.
Anna Bunce
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fitzgerald's passion shines through and is infectious. A delightful read that reminded me of all the reasons I loved going to photobooths in high school.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I needed a microhistory and a Canadian author for a book challenge, so score! Fitzgerald's illustrations are gorgeous. I like the historical parts better than the person memoirs, but that was just my personal preference. At times, I felt a little bogged down. I don't share Fitzgerald's passion for photobooths and it began to feel like I was stuck listening to a Star Wars fan go on and on and on about Clone Wars for too long. But I appreciate her passion. I get it and I learned more than I expect ...more
A tad overlong by the end (in part because it had some repetitive moments -- I knew Meags's birthday by the second time she said it and didn't need it mentioned ten more) but a totally wonderful graphic biography of photo booths. It's part social history and part memoir about a love affair with the booth and what they came to mean for the artist who loved them.

There's a lot of travel in this one, and in a lot of ways the marrying of a passion with the personal journey reminded me of Lucy Knisle
Darlene Stericker
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much from this book! I used a photobooth once when I was 9 (1969) to get a ski membership at Chicopee in Kitchener, ON. I really have never given photo booths much thought before reading this book.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really fun history of photobooths!
Trey Piepmeier
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I discovered this book on a visit to [Quimby's Bookstore]( in Chicago. They had a photo booth in the store that I found out (after Livie and I used it) was a real, "chemical" booth. The photos took several minutes to come out of the machine and they were still a little wet when they did. Considering I'm currently in the depths of an obsession with film photography, this was fascinating to me. On the outside of the booth was an advertisement for this book.

On first look, yo
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Near the start of Photobooth: A Biography, Meags Fitzgerald talks about taking photobooth pictures with a friend in 2003 to celebrate the last day of classes of tenth grade, and how, after that day, she got very into photobooths: taking photobooth pictures, learning about the history of the booths themselves, and collecting photobooth pictures taken by others. The rest of the book talks about Fitzgerald's experience with all those things, and also about various photobooth-related travels she's t ...more
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As a third generation camera store employee I thought I knew it all. Nope.

I had the pleasure of meeting Meags and hearing her talk about this medium she feels so passionately about-- a subject so close yet so far from what I know of photography. A must read for lovers of vintage, of photos and of stories about crazy writers in over their heads.
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really nicely written history of the mechanical photobooth, drawing on Fitzgerald's own personal experiences with them. There are a lot of comma splices, which is annoying, but forgivable due to the fantastic art.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was digging it for the first hundred pages but its just too esoteric a subject to hold my interest for the whole book.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, nonfiction
A lot of information and beautiful drawings of photobooths - the story wasn't that interesting to me.
Michael Smith
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m old enough to remember when nearly every dime store, bus station, and amusement park had a coin-operated photobooth. Close the curtain, take a seat, feed in a couple of quarters, and smile -- or, more likely, if you were a teenager, make faces. And out would come a strip of six black-and-white wallet-size portraits. Because the image was printed directly to paper and there was no negative, each shot was unique and non-repeatable -- a tiny time capsule of a single moment in your life. I posed ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book after enjoying (immensely) the author's short story "Waxing Moon" in the Secret Loves of Geek Girls anthology. WOW! This book is absolutely gorgeous and filled with fascinating information about photobooths. A topic I never thought I'd enjoy learning about so much. It made me think back to my photography classes I took in high school and wonder why we never covered the topic of the photobooth.

The design/layout and artwork in this book is just visually hypnotizing. Last nigh
Kate Stericker
I've read both graphic memoirs and non-fiction comics in the past, but this book combines those genres in a way that's original and utterly captivating. Although I had never heard of Fitzgerald or been particularly interested in photobooths before picking up this book, I became deeply invested in both subjects within a few pages. I also loved that, although Fitzgerald's work features historical documents and detailed renderings of significant places on almost every page, she never incorporates s ...more
Natasha Penney
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am in awe of the artists' (author, illustrator, collector and curator's) passion for chemical photo booths. The book was warm and generous, and Fitzgerald was highly successful in translating her love to her text and illustrations. I'm glad I picked up this book based on the cover art. I'll be headed to Scotia Square tomorrow to locate one of the many photo booth she highlighted in her quest to preserve the medium before they expire.
Vanessa (splitreads)
3.5. A history of the photobooth, with some personal memories from the author. I especially liked the way it is illustrated and organized/designed. My only real criticism is that I wanted a little bit more of a connection to the author as the history (while new and informative) wasn't that captivating to me.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a thorough, well-done tribute to photobooths. I was surprised by the research and detail that went into this. Although I can't identify with this obsession, this book was clearly an well-enacted act of love.
Jewelia Howard
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i'd never really thought about photobooths before but this book opened my eyes to them. it was wonderful and interesting and beautiful and a very good read. i now want to track down a photobooth and make art
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
love the history --- and i've already used to locate new booths as we travel with the help of a site mentioned in the book!
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Meags Fitzgerald is a Montreal-based artist and an award winning illustrator, graphic novelist and animator. Her talents also include improv comedy and live storytelling. Fitzgerald is the author and illustrator of the non-fiction graphic novel, Photobooth: A Biography (spring 2014) and the graphic memoir, Long Red Hair (fall 2015), both published by Conundrum Press.

When she's not drawing or perfo