I found the photos on the left in the Halifax Shopping Center this winter. The strip was tucked behind the sign mounted on the photobooth. They’re quite water damaged so I imagine they were dropped in a puddle in the parking lot and a kind stranger returned the strip to the booth for the kids to hopefully retrieve it.
The center photo I found in the fall of 2005 in Millbourne Mall in Edmonton, it was attached to the booth with a large wad of pink bubble gum, left by the takers no doubt. This booth is no longer there, which is a shame because it only cost $2.
I found the photo on the right in the hands of an inpatient stranger standing beside a booth in West Edmonton Mall, in the spring of 2006. He had been waiting half an hour for the booth to deliver photos he need for an ID card, to his dismay these ones had just came out instead. He cautioned me not to use the booth, we chatted a little and I convinced him to give me the photostrip. This is what I see:
These kids have hearts of gold and eat so much sugar for breakfast. They are not naughty by nature but over compensate with reckless behaviour whenever they are not under the supervision of an authority figure. They keep tiny secrets and collect little stories of the mischievous things they’ve done to regale their peers with during recess. They wear these accomplishments proudly, as if they are badges stitched to a Boy Scout sash, invisible to adults.
The stories are so itty bitty but can easily enrapture a playground crowd while they devour their sugar coated snacks. One kid undertook a corporeal experiment with her best friend, taking turns touching their tongues to each other’s eyeballs. She remarked on the surprising sandpaper like quality of taste buds. Another kid wondered what his cat’s bum hole felt like and let his tiny index finger sink right, with no noticeable displeasure to the cat. Another kid stole 75 cents every day from a jar of coins on his parents’ dresser to buy candy cigarettes, the kind made from waxy chocolate wrapped with edible paper. He went through a pack a day, sometimes he shared and sometimes he didn’t. A junior high girl overcome with curiosity about what would really happen if she stuck a fork in an electric socket tried it to discover a painful numbing sensation lasting only a few minutes in her hand. This became a very popular pass time amongst her friends for the next few weeks.
Given that these kids have never got into any real trouble their parents do let them wonder in shopping malls with minimal supervision. With allowances starting at $10 a week, plus whatever they can find between the couch cushions, a trip to the photobooth is a pretty good way to kill some time and maybe have some fun.