I have always been a big fan of the past and the future. The present somehow does not hold as much appeal. Prior to my little trip to Berlin I was excited to hear that there still exists analogue photo booths in the city. I did my research to find these spots and wrote it in my little notebook of addresses that I wanted to seek out.
Imagine my surprise and happiness when on our first day of properly venturing out in the city, we stumbled upon a booth that was not on my list. Not far from the East Side Gallery, we followed the people ahead of us and walked into Bar 25 (also on the list) by turning a corner and going through a side door. We found ourselves in this little spot of treats. An old, disused dodgem sat on a platform, a couple of swings hung from the branches of these huge tree and an old fotoautomat booth.
I have always been a big fan of analogue photos but due to the cost of processing, I forgot the joy in taking photos on film until this trip. Sometimes the beauty in the waiting time is that you forget what photos were taken and when you collect them, it is a surprise. And just as surprising is taking photos in an old booth. The sound of the flashing going off and the gentle whirr of the booth while it processes your photos. This is what I’ll hear when I think of Berlin.
Recently, at the Tate Modern, I saw an exhibition of Seydou Keita’s photographs. A studio photographer from Mali, I thought of how having your photograph taken was such a big occasion. I love his portraits of these people who stood, posing with their props against a patterned background.
I’d love for them to bring back the old fotoautomat booths. While it is nice to have the option to get a really decent photo of yourself in the digital booths, they lack the spontaniety and romantic sense of the analogue booths.