Arts

Reviving vintage Photo booths: A-Town Booth brings analogue magic to Adelaide

In a world driven by digital technology and instant gratification, Carter Brown saw an opportunity to rekindle the magic of vintage photo booths. 

Carter’s journey began when he stepped inside a vintage analogue photo booth stationed outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street Railway Station and was captivated. It was at that moment that Carter decided to embark on a quest to bring vintage photo booths to Adelaide. 

Becoming a part of a community of enthusiasts who share a passion for these nostalgic machines, Carter began uncovering the history of past booths across Adelaide. Four years later, he is now the driving force behind A-Town Booth, a vintage photo booth rental business that embraces the artistry of analogue photography. 

Carter’s endeavour has been met with enthusiasm, reinforcing his belief in the enduring appeal of analogue photography in a digital age. 

“A lot of the younger generation really desire something tangible and physical that they can hold images of,” Carter explains. “We’re in such a digital world now that we don’t really own our memories.”

A-Town Booth’s first location in Adelaide was The Art Gallery of South Australia as part of their exhibition “Andy Warhol and Photography: A Social Media.” Visitors to the exhibition got the chance to use the coin-operated booth for $8, allowing them to experience the unique charm and allure of these vintage machines and take home their own personalised photo strips.

“A lot of people enjoyed it at the Andy Warhol exhibition, but even earlier than the exhibition, it really came back into vogue last year through social media,” says Carter.

Hot off the heels of its stint as the supporting act to The Andy Warhol Exhibition at The Art Gallery of South Australia, the A-Town Booth has now found a home at Adelaide Arcade.

“We’re going to go on a month-to-month basis and see how it goes, so hopefully, it will be a permanent location and a permanent home for it. We are planning to go into the Central Market sometime this year with another photo booth.”

The vintage dip-and-dunk photo booth holds a special place in the analogue photography world, with only 100 of its kind remaining worldwide. Dating back to the 1960s, this model, crafted by the Photo-Me company, represents an era when such booths were ubiquitous, serving as the go-to destination for passport photos and preserving memories in tangible form.

“There’s a long history with these photo booths; they were invented in 1925 and mass-produced in the 1960s in England,” explains Carter, “Even photos from the 1930s still look as good as the day they were printed.”

Brought over to Australia from England over 40 years ago, the A-Town Booth was once stationed in the Myer Centre and nightclubs in Perth and Sydney.

Looking ahead, Carter is eager to expand the reach of vintage photo booths in Adelaide. Carter aspires to cultivate a dedicated following akin to the cult-like status of the Flinders Street Station photo booth in Melbourne.

And his top tip when using the A-Town Booth?

“Just have, just do what feels good. It’s really great because there’s no photographer involved, so you can just feel free to be yourself and have as much fun as possible, and there’s no one judging you. Just enjoy yourself.”

For now, anyone passing through Adelaide Arcade can have their own genuine analogue photographs that exude timeless charm and authenticity.

You can keep up to date with A-Town Boothโ€™s locations on Instagram atownbooth.au or hire it for your party at: www.atownbooth.au

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