These four photos were snapped today in a photo booth in Metrotown, Bby, BC, Canada for a project on poets and photo booth pictures that my partner, Warren Dean Fulton has been engaged in for many years now, getting poets from bill bissett and Joe Rosenblatt to rob mclennan and Pearl Pirie to step in front of the blue or orange curtain and pretend immortalize the moment’s pretense of self. Then he places this sequence of four gestures and expressions alongside a poem selected by the author and waits to see how they echo off each other. The photo booth is dying.
Ok, new photo booths exist but its recent variants make the poser look either like they are having their passport photo taken or as if they are characters in a kid’s anime colouring book, resplendent with virtual pen squiggles, hearts, stars or silly sayings.
These old ones from the late 70s/early 80s are plain but give you the goods. The backdrop is negligible; the geegaws are nil and now, as you can see, the machine is beginning to falter, light leaks in, the ink is already ghosted. Still, we get the fast movement between flashes and masks, that strange joy. And the happiness of things that have passed out of cultural significance. I love them.
I write to you from a desk constructed in 1895, beside my mother’s old steamer trunk, beneath shelves full of my great grandmother’s book collection, not far from a 60s turntable, and I gather up ruins of an 80 year old mill from a beach in my former neighbourhood, marveling at all the parts for obsolete machines.
Why are artists in general drawn to such relics or antiques or garbage some might call it? Do we find it kin? As we feel far from the core of culture, often dismissed, relegated to the edges, do we empathize with these objects that have outlived their utility? We definitely see the beauty in them.