International Photobooth Convention (IPC23) in London Brought Together Enthusiasts from all Over the World
Classic Photo Booth LLC closely followed the proceedings of the International Photobooth Convention IPC23 with great interest. The event took place in London, UK from 13 to 16 July. The event was organized by Autofoto (Rafael Hortala Vallve, Marco Ferrari) and Photobooth.net (Brian Meacham, Tim Garrett).
Enthusiasts, artists, and operators of analog photo booths from all over the world took part in the international convention. Many of them have known each other for a long time. But some participated in this long-awaited event for the first time.
The previous International Photobooth Convention was held in 2019. Due to various reasons beyond the organizers’ control, the gathering of analog photo booth enthusiasts was delayed by three years. During this time, participants of IPC23 happily shared a wealth of new thematic information.
The organizers of the event managed to fill IPC23 with a lot of events. Technical and creative workshops, collaborative projects, exhibitions, film screenings, and roundtable discussions captured the participants’ full attention.
Additional artistic and technical workshops were held over the weekend. In addition, participants visited many of the analog photo booths scattered throughout London. Also, Photobooth.net organized a display of photo booths in cinemas.
On July 15, at the Prince Charles Cinema, took place the discussion about photo booths.
Art of Classic Photo Booths: From Enthusiasts to International Recognition
Let’s agree, everything in life starts with enthusiasts. The world revolves around them. That was the case with Max Sverdlov, who founded Classic Photo Booth LLC in America 28 years ago. It was also the case with Steve Howard (Mr. Mixup), who organized the first international photo booth convention at Nottingham Trent University 26 years ago.
As a child, Mr. Mixup, a photo booth artist, fell in love with photo booths. As he grew older, in his 20s, he began using photo booths as a means of creating art. He created props and backdrops to turn photographic strips into something more than ordinary photographs.
In the 80s, Steve Howard met his Yugoslav colleague, another photo booth artist, Caca Markovich. This acquaintance resulted in a vibrant creative symbiosis — the two organized photo booth events in the UK and Yugoslavia. Then, in 1997, Mr. Mixup hosted photo booth days at Nottingham Trent University, which he later named the very first International Photobooth Convention.
Since then, IPC has become a special event held every few years in different locations around the world. London, Brighton, New York, St. Louis, Belgrade, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Manchester have hosted participants of the International Photobooth Convention.
Preserving Heritage: Uniting Analog Photo Booth Enthusiasts
Since the first International Photobooth Convention, the audience united by a genuine love for analog photo booths has been growing. Over the years, it has developed a sense of camaraderie. IPC has become a place where analog photo booth enthusiasts come together, where artists experiment with their projects, and where photo booth operators share their experiences.
However, it is not just the desire for regular interaction that drives these individuals. They genuinely worry that the beloved analog photo booth will be replaced by soulless digital photo stations.
The organizers of IPC, Autofoto, are a group of analog photo booth experts from London who have been rescuing and restoring original photo machines for over a decade. These refurbished photo booths operate in various locations around the city, providing people with the opportunity to capture moments and experience true joy.
Unfortunately, not only analog photo booths are disappearing, but also the professionals who can repair and maintain them. According to representatives from Autofoto, their mission is to ensure the survival of these marvelous photo machines as unique photographic tools for future generations.
Interestingly, in the past, iconic artists like Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman worked with analog photo machines. They, as well as contemporary photo artists like Marco Ferrari, have proven that the analog photo booth is an ideal tool for visual experiments. It holds immense potential as an artistic medium in the 21st century, waiting to be further explored.
Classic Photo Booth LLC has traditionally participated in IPC
Classic Photo Booth LLC is no stranger to the International Photobooth Convention. In 2014, Max Sverdlov, the founder of Classic Photo Booth LLC, and Mike Rybak, the company representative in Los Angeles, took part in IPC in Chicago. This year, only Mike Rybak attended the London IPC23.
It is worth noting that his experience as an operator and a vintage photo booth expert proved to be invaluable during the masterclasses organized by Autofoto.
During IPC23, Mike shared his expertise in diagnosing and rectifying common transmission issues. This knowledge has become an invaluable gift for the participants of IPC 23. Especially for those who own vintage photo booths and maintain and repair them themselves.
Mike made a significant contribution to the knowledge exchange and experience sharing at the convention, helping to preserve and enhance the functionality of these unique photo machines for future generations.
Throughout the event, Mike actively engaged with colleagues, exchanging experiences and new ideas. These interactive sessions were not only informative but also very inspiring. The participants were once again convinced that their passion for analog photo booths is shared by like-minded people.
Thanks to such valuable insights and experience, the participants of IPC23 were ready to continue their mission of preserving analog photo booths for generations to come.
Each person present at the event left their mark on the history of this unique form of art, which unites people and transcends the boundaries of time and space.
At the Crossroads of Art and Heritage: Meeting Meags Fitzgerald at the International Photobooth Convention
During the International Photobooth Convention, there was a meeting with the author and illustrator of the book “Photobooth: A Biography,” Meags Fitzgerald. Her book about photo booths received the Doug Wright Spotlight Award 2015 and was nominated for the Joe Shuster Best Cartoonist Award 2015. Currently, she is working on a full-length documentary film on this subject.
Meags has been using analog photo booths in her work for over two decades. She creates a stop-motion animation that uses thousands of images from a photo booth as animation frames.
Meags was one of the organizers of the International Photobooth Convention in 2014 in Chicago, where she conducted seminars on her methods of creating photo booths, and she is excited to share this know-how with IPC23 participants.
Our readers will find it interesting to know that Meags acquired her first vintage photo booth precisely from Classic Photo Booth LLC. Her passion for analog photo booths has remained strong over the years. Meags admires the art created using this unique technique. Her works serve as living proof that vintage photo booths are not just relics of the past but inspiring and creative tools capable of transporting us into the world of nostalgia and unique art.
The Art of Analog Photobooths: Inspiration for the Future
As mentioned earlier, the participants of IPC23 used the classic photo booth at various master classes, seminars, round tables, and joint projects. United by creativity, people in love with the classic photo booth in all its manifestations were overflowing with ideas.
For example, the organizers of the convention made the sign of the congress out of… analog photo strips! And the panel with photographs of all the congress participants also consisted of numerous black-and-white photographic tapes. Interestingly, all the participants took pictures in a vintage photo booth, holding hands.
It gives the impression that they are telling the world, “Digitization won’t pass! We will protect our analog photo booths!”
By the way, as part of a joint project, the photo artist Marco Ferrari and designer Natalie George prepared a stunning comic with collage elements. It is a story of heroes fighting against a digital monster determined to eradicate everything analog.
The creative spirit of the convention and the determination to preserve the essence of vintage photo booths permeated each project.
Participants left the event inspired, armed with new ideas, and with a shared sense of purpose. The legacy of analog photo booths will remain an eternal source of inspiration for future generations.
Guardians of Heritage: Enthusiasts Continue the Mission of Preserving Analog Photo Booths
When the event came to an end, the participants returned home with a sense of community and unity. Classic Photo Booth LLC once again made sure that the passion for analog photo booths continues to rage in the hearts of IPC23 enthusiasts. Moreover, it continues to grow, uniting people striving to preserve and enrich the heritage of this incredible art form.
Each participant, captivated by analog photo booths, took with them not only new knowledge but also unforgettable experiences. United by common goals and interests, they became true guardians of heritage, tasked with preserving and passing on this art to future generations.
The new friendships formed during the convention became a precious addition to each participant’s unique experience. Enthusiasts dispersed worldwide, maintain connections, exchanging ideas, successes, and creative discoveries. Every photo booth lover can feel the support and understanding from their like-minded companions, forming a cohesive family of analog art enthusiasts.
It was more than just an agreement. It was an extraordinary event that left an indelible mark on the hearts of the participants. Each participant became a part of the world history of analog photo booths. A story that continues to evolve thanks to the passion and dedication of people united by the love of this wonderful art.