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In September of 1952, a Russian immigrant in New York named Anatol Josepho sets up the first completely automatic photo studio. A small booth where it is possible to produce and obtain photo identification pictures without the intervention of a photographer: “8 pictures in 8 minutes for 25 cents.”

The Photobooth is born. The procedure is simple. The success is immediate. Very rapidly the process will be diverted from its first usage and will open up a new spectrum of improvisation, ease, revery and artistic expression.

A commercial brand that became a generic designation as that of “refridgerator,” the Photobooth has since, irreversibly, modified the perception we have of our own image, and with such success even to this day following the works of not only artists but also the general public!

This original book of Raynal Pellicer portrays an inventory of the photo identification portrait and its artistic diversion by mixing portraits of anonymous people with those of contemporary artists (photographers, painters, graphic artists, film directors…) through 3 themes: Origins (Photomatic and Phototeria; Willy Michel and his Art Photomaton studio; the photo identification portrait) – The Arts (the Surrealists; Andy Warhol, Gérard Malanga, Al Hansen, Francis Bacon, Christian Boltanski, Roland Topor, Christian Dotremont, Susan Hiller, Paul Yates, Liz Rideal…) – The Second wind of the Photobooth (Michel Folco, José Mesa, Tim Garrett, Nakki Goranin, Naomi Leibowitz, Tomoko Sawada, Marco Tavarnesi, Jena Ardell, Andrea Corrona Jenkins…).

Illustrated by numerous previously unpublished documents, this work illustrates a reflexion on the self-portrait as well as its relation between reality and appearances, bringing together a gallery of portraits of 12 well-known figures, including Claude Simon, Abel Gance, Erold Flynn, Louis Jouvet, Marcel Aymé, Max Jacob, Céline, Mesrine, John Lennon, Andy Warhol, Blaise Cendrars, Anne Frank, Boris Vian, Elvis Presley, Kennedy, Maurice Piala.

(Text courtesy of press release)

Photomaton, Raynal Pellicer, La Martinière publishers, 2011

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