Are you contributing to history, in some small way?
Recently, Rutgers Today reported about a man who, over the course of three decades, took and saved more than 450 photo booth prints of himself. The photo booth images were taken during the Great Depression era of the 1930’s through the 1960’s, when photo booths were extremely popular.
The collection of his photo booth prints, captioned “445 Portraits of a Man,” is on display at Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in an exhibition titled ”Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture.”
Until now, the identity of the man of photo-booth-selfie fame remained a mystery.
Goranin theorized, “It’s not a given that the guy worked for the photobooth company. It could be that he’s just a quirky personality. I’ve seen a lot of things in my research, but this collection is very strange.”
The “445 Portraits of a Man” photo booth collection became the main attraction of the art exhibit. Zimmerli curator Donna Gustafson said, "I wanted this collection in the exhibition because everyone is intrigued by photo booths, and these portraits were never intended to be shown in a museum."
The identity of this photo booth star remained a mystery until just last week. Photo booth operators will not be surprised to learn that the subject of so many photo booth prints was Franklyn Swantek, owner of Swantek Photo Service, Michigan’s largest distributor and operator of Photomatic photo booths.
Swantek’s nephew, Tom Trelenberg of Minden, Nevada, recognized Swantek’s photo booth image online and identified his jovial Uncle Franklyn. "Uncle Franklyn was a lot of fun, just a cheerful guy. It's why I kept going back," Trelenberg said. "I remember helping him tear apart Photomatics that weren't being used anymore. As payment, he let me keep whatever I found in the coin box."
The assumption is that Franklyn Swantek took hundreds of photo booth self-portraits while testing the photo booths on his route. Though, some of his photo booth images must have been taken as sheer entertainment, as he wore a fake nose and glasses as props in the photo booth at times.
The mystery remains as to what possessed Swantek to save all of the photo booth prints?
And, would Swantek be pleased or appalled to learn that his collection of photo booth selfies became the main attraction of the Zimmerli Art Museum exhibit?
At least one fact has remained constant since the Great Depression, unchanged for decades: everybody loves photo booths! You can rest assured that your self-portrait photo booth documentary will survived the decades if taken with a Fun Stop Photos photo booth. Our photo booths dispense dye-sublimation prints of the highest quality, designed to last virtually forever.
So the next time you service your photo booth, why not toss the photo strips into a box for posterity? You, too, could one day be the star of a photo booth art exhibit!