JF Ptak Science Books Post 2562
Before $999 selfie sticks, and before cell phones, there still was life! The agitations of great need for making self portraits has existed no doubt before this semi-delusional time, except of course there wasn't immediate and total access to the possibility of addressing the somewhat narco-curiosity to self aware recording. Nowadays you can have your own broadcasting service all about yourself all of the time and share it to yourself or to anyone else who can find your conceptual conceit--in the past, not so much so.
The antiquarian notation of the idea of the selfie finds itself in the invention of the photo booth. It is perhaps the first true invention that could address this notion of photographic self-allegiance, except that you can't fit it into your pocket like a cell/sel(f) phone because you fit inside of it. But it certainly was the only way that you could halfway address an instant need for making a photo of yourself, and do so without undue muss or fuss, and to be able to do it on your own.
The photo booth was the early version of radical expression of photographic self-interpretation made possible by a hands-free invention.
The results of the photo booth (around since about 1890 but not fabulously well accepted and ubiquitous until Mr. Anaotl Josepho with his Photomata in 1925) can be charming, and revealing, and be all that you wished it to be, or not. I've collected some examples (below) from the 1930's-1950''s--the results can be mixed, but almost always interesting.
The young Miles Davis is terrific.
Miles Davis, aged 9. [Source, Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/31454897367684842/]
For an interesting piece on artistic photo booth self portraits by artists, see Jonathan Jones on the Surrealists and the first photobooth in Paris, 1928, in The Guardian, here: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2004/jun/16/1
This is fascinating: 445 photo booth images of/by one unidentified man:
- See the article by Pricilla Frank, "Exhibition Features 445 Vintage Photobooth Portraits From A Single Unknown Man" in the Huffington Post, here: [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/04/445-photobooth-portraits_n_5077544.html]
Yves Tanguy [Source, PBS, here: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CO-mBeXUEAASyM8.png]
Mel Ferrer, Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote [Source: http://jilltxt.net/?p=3831]
Marguerite Duras [Source: http://jilltxt.net/?p=3831]
Robert Johnson. I bet someone out there knows exactly where this booth was, if it was indeed a photo booth. [Source: Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/31454897367684899/]