Photo Booths – a brief history

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If only photo booths could tell the stories from within their curtained walls. The famous and not so famous faces, the kisses and the costumes.Photo Booth History - Elvis

Although the first ever patent for an automated photography machine was file in America in 1888 by William Pope and Edward Poole it was probably never built.

The first known really working photographic machine was a product of the French inventor T. E. Enjalbert in March 1889. It was shown at the World Fair in Paris in 1889, but the man credited with the birth of the modern concept of the photo booth we know is Anatol Josepho (previously Josephewitz), who had arrived in the U.S. from Russia in 1923. His first photo booth appeared in 1925 on Broadway in New York City. Anatol opened up his Photomaton Studio on Broadway, between 51st and 52nd streets. Crowds, as many as 7,500 people a day, would line up to have their photos taken for 25 cents for a strip of eight, a process taking roughly ten minutes.

The place came to be known as ‘Broadway’s greatest quarter-snatcher.’ The New York governor and a senator were among those waiting for the fun of the automatic photo strip. Photo booths were a common sight throughout the world in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and now they are making a remarkable comeback.


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