Thursday, September 4, 2014

International Photobooth Convention pt.1

In August of 2013, I sent an email to Brian and Tim, the gentlemen behind Since 2005 they've been the organizers of the International Photobooth Convention. (I should note that the conventions are not commercial trade shows, but rather volunteer-run festivals to celebrate all things photobooth-- with a heavy bias towards vintage machines.) In my email to them, I expressed interest in helping to organize the next IPC and listed a handful of ideas.

Ten months and hundreds of emails later, I arrived at A&A Studios a week before the convention date. Anthony Vizzari, his team and I got to work prepping IPC 2014. Truthfully, it was an immense amount of work, but it also felt energizing to be back in that creative space again, with all my old Chicago pals.

Chemical booths, from left to right, a Model 21, 17, 17 and 14, with a Photomatic peeking around the corner. Photo by Brian Meacham
Anthony was responsible for getting the physical space in order, which involved setting up five chemical and two digital photobooths, as well as planning the opening night party. I was responsible for the programming, scheduling and the promotional materials. The A&A staff were a tremendous amount of help. Brian and Tim would join us for during the actual event to keep everything running smoothly.

Conference room, table covered in Anthony's collection of PDQ cameras.
Some details from a Model 9 that Antony acquired since the last time I was in Chicago.
Anthony's photos, a couple Photomatics and three great examples of frames designed specifically for photobooth pictures.
Anthony's own Photomatic, an incredibly rare gem of a machine.

Anthony taught a workshop on using a photobooth camera outside of the photobooth. A&A staff member, David made a device to trigger the camera and paper cutter and attached a darkroom bag to collect the photos as they dropped out of the camera box. The photos were then developed by hand in the darkroom. Getting the lighting just right was the trickiest part.

It had been a while since I had serviced a photobooth but I was about to help get the machines up and running.  Here are some test shots from the Model 21 and Model 11 which we had running colour paper and chemicals.

What there aren't photos of, but what was certainly a memorable part of the pre-convention experience, is all the containers of take-out food we consumed that week.

In addition to the poster I made announcing IPC, we also wanted to make limited edition silkscreened posters, like in previous years. I designed the graphic while Kiera, an A&A staff member did the actual silkscreening. I also designed name tags and a set of four buttons.

Photo by Brian Meacham.
Volunteers made bunting out of paper in the convention colours and together we set up a merch table with a pretty good array of photobooth related products.

Photo by Brian Meacham.
As part of the convention we had a small exhibition of art titled Photobooth: New Works. The theme was art that was made since 2010 either using photobooths or with photobooths as the subject matter. With a team of volunteers we managed to get the art hung just before the opening party on Friday night.
Photo by Brian Meacham.
Well, that's it for set-up, in my next post I'll talk about what actually happened during the convention!

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