Why Do We Love Photo Booths

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We’re all walking around with fully functioning photo studios in our pockets, each with the capacity to hold literally a million times the number of digital photos that the computer that took The Apollo Crew to The Moon could’ve held. So, why do we all go nuts when we see a photo booth? Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a great bit about the number of digital photos that we all have.

It’s true, all of us have thousands of pictures sitting on our computers and floating around in cyberspace. Yet when we see a photo booth it’s as though we’re transported back to 1925. We turn off the radio broadcast of Dick Tracy and try to cram as many people into the booth as possible

It doesn’t seem like anyone’s immune either. Young and old, kids and grownups, everyone wants a turn in the photobooth. Children are the most surprising to me. They’ve grown up having the most advanced picture taking technology at their fingertips but put them in a photo booth and they’re nothing but giggles and smiles. You should see their eyes light up when the photo strip prints out and they get to hold it in their hands.
I believe that this excitement is as much for the tangibility of the pictures as anything else. Kids today live in two realms. They spend part of their lives in the digital realm snapchatting with electronic avatars and they also spend a rapidly decreasing amount of time in the “real world.”   In fact, it’s estimated that children ages 8-18 spend an average of nearly 45 hours a week in front of a screen. To them pictures and selfies are nearly involuntary actions like breathing. They tap the screen a few times and their images are converted into a hundred thousand 1’s and 0’s and sent on their way. On the other hand, a picture strip from a photo booth is a sensory experience even down to the smell of the ink. To them a photo booth, or as some of them call it a selfie booth, is almost shocking in its reality.

For adults a photo booth provides a moment of privacy which is something that is getting harder to find in our increasingly surveillant world. Intimacy is disappearing. We share pictures of what we ate on our dates, everyone in our circle has access to our itineraries. Where we went on vacation and our favorite hiking trails are now a matter of public record. However, when you close the curtains to a photo booth  your world is reduced to a 3 by 3 cubicle. Your experience exists for only you and the other person who is sharing it with you then and there; and when your keepsake photo strips print out, they belong to you. Photo booths are romantic.

While there are a number of kinds of photo booth out there, I find that the traditional ones have the greatest impact. The pipe and drape photo booths are nice because they can accommodate more people at one time, but they lack the intimacy and nostalgic appeal of an old fashioned photo booth.

I will say this about modern photo booths: some of the features available can make them an absolutely amazing addition to your event. Among other things, ours can record every picture taken at an event which can then be made into a keepsake slideshow. Wonderful.

Let us know in the comments how you feel about photo booths.

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