This is a working cardboard photo-booth – it is unique in its design and construction. Functionally, it is an automatic photographic portrait-making device. Internally, cardboard cogs, conveyer-belts, wheels and switches transport the photographic image through a series of chemical baths to create a silver-gelatin photograph.
To make the cardboard photo-booth work, the sitter must wait for the machine to be activated. Upon seeing a green-light on the front of the machine, the sitter deposits a token into a slot in the photo-booth. A red light is then illuminated and the sitter must sit perfectly still for as long as the red light is lit. Then the technological marvel begins and the cardboard automaton starts to process the photograph. It is a feat of supreme mechanical innovation and imagination as the hidden mechanisms* of this wondrous device yields a silver-gelatin photograph with a likeness of the portrait-sitter.
This retro-tech device harkens back to the history of photography. A time of anticipation, waiting and patience. The automaton draws connections to the past through the creation of a wet-processed photograph in a near instantaneous manner. Through this technological innovation, the mysteries of the photographic process are transmitted. It is more than nostalgia; it is a mixture of wonderment, curiosity and spectacle. All are drawn into the conversation of what photography was and what it has become.
The cardboard photobooth was activated at Corridor 2122 in Fresno on June 7th, 2012.