By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Incorporating elements of installation art and performance art and often dressing the participants as well as the sets, the Joes (both of whom have graphic design and filmmaking backgrounds) aim for an interactive experience. “We let the crowd dictate the backdrop,” says Rubenstein, who recalls a spray-paint-splattered alley motif they did for a recent night at Club System at the Knitting Factory. “We knew there’d be a lot of cool kids in American Apparel–style clothing, so we went for a street feel.”
Rubenstein notes that their most interesting shots so far have come when they limited the room in which subjects stood. “In a small-box-type space, the person becomes more dominant,” he says, citing one of their early shoots inside what looked like a toilet stall. “People worked harder on posing, and gave us more, doing their little dance inside. They understood their context better.”
Which brings us to the cozy confines of the real-deal print-while-you-wait photo booth. It may be less glamorous than mugging for a flesh-and-blood photog, but it’s no less fun. Plus its privacy often makes for more provocative and entertaining results. And its popularity seems to be permeating pop culture: at our favorite bars (see sidebar), as home décor (Dave Navarro and Bret Ratner boast booths at their abodes), on television (TLC’S LA Ink uses one to groovy effect in its promos) and at corporate-sponsored events.
Big biz, always down to co-opt a cool trend, has also benefited Polite in Public (a cigarette company sponsored their latest tour, and they’ll be doing stuff with Box Eight and Fashion Week this October) and Rony’s Photobooth (alcohol brands paid for his nifty setup at parties connected with this year’s Coachella). And the fashion world is falling all over itself for a book of photo-booth shots from NYC nightclub MisShapes.
So what’s next for these skilled soiree snappers? The Joes and Rony talk about making their sites even more interactive, offering visitors the ability to connect, link and exchange ideas. But maybe the bells and whistles aren’t really necessary. After all, when it comes to the retro photo booth, its simplicity is part of its charm, and despite every technological advance, a picture alone is still worth a thousand words.
Beauties and the Booth
On the Web
In the Bars
Cha Cha Lounge, 2375 Glendale Blvd., Silver Lake
Beauty Bar, 1638 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.
Short Stop, 1455 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
The Standard, 550 S. Flower St., dwntwn.
BAR 107, 107 W. Fourth St., dwntwn.
The Scene, 806 E. Colorado St., Glendale
Rent Your Own
Redcheese.com (color shots with red backgrounds)
Capitalphotobooths.com (old-timey black & whites)
Apluspartyrents.com (tiny sticker pics with funky borders)
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