Photo Booths: Its Humble Beginnings and Rise to Popularity

January 16, 2023

Photo booths are a fun and interactive way to capture picture-perfect memories of any special occasion. You can find them at graduation parties, weddings, corporate events, and birthdays. 

While most people think that the classic, traditional photo booth design is the only way to capture mementos of a once-in-a-lifetime event, there are plenty of other ways to make it unique. 

However, as you book your next photo booth rental, you might be curious about how this crowd-favorite emerged and rose to popularity. 

This article will take you down memory lane to the photo booth’s humble beginnings and how it became a staple during special days. 

How Did the Photo Booth Begin?

Photo booths have been around since the late 1800s. Historians documented that William Pope and Edward Poole first registered a photo booth for the invention in 1888 in Baltimore. Unfortunately, there’s no proof of a functioning model of this. 

French inventor T.E. Enjalbert created the first successful photo booth in 1889. He named it the "Apparatus for Automatic Photography" and displayed it at the World's Fair in Paris. One year passed, and Matthew Steffens patented a similar device in America. While these early machines were effective, they were less efficient than expected because they needed a lot of manual labor.

Who Invented It?

Anatol Marcovich Yozefovich (Anatol Marco Josepho), born in Tomsk, Russia, in 1894, was highly interested in photography from a young age with his first Brownie camera. His wealthy family of jewelers allowed him to go to a technical institute, and his father enrolled him in Germany to further study photography just before the first World War. Here, he began to develop the idea of creating an automatic photo machine, which eventually became today's iconic photo booth. 

After studying photography, he moved to Budapest to start his studio at 19. He moved his business to Shanghai when the First World War began. In the early 1920s, he moved to the United States and settled in New York, letting him transform his Photomaton vision into a reality. 

What Was the Original Photo Booth?

Anatol Marco Josepho developed the photo booth in 1925. The Photomaton was an automated contraption found on the streets of New York. It immediately became a crowd-favorite among passersby, where more than 200,000 people stood in line for over eight minutes to develop their photo strips. However, you must remember that it was a different time because, unlike today’s instant-gratification society, people considered eight minutes a short wait back then. 

After the photo booth’s blockbuster hit, Josepho created the Photomaton Company. He had the support of former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served on the company’s board of directors. The inventor installed Photomaton booths in different places throughout the country. In 1928, he sold his invention to Henry Morganthau Sr. for a large sum. Josepho also received a lifetime royalty for his creation. 

The Photo Booth Today

Photo booths have had a long and rich history. People previously saw these machines to help them capture a physical memory. However, with Andy Warhol’s help, they became an art form for everyone to enjoy. He popularized the photo booth, allowing people to express themselves and get creative. 

Warhol’s influence on art, photography, and pop culture significantly encouraged modern photographers and artists to explore the photo booth’s potential by styling them to their unique tastes. Today, photo booths help people capture memories and serve as a medium for creative freedom. 

Final Thoughts 

Photo booths have come a long way from being convenient for people to process their photos. Today, they’re a staple for significant events and help everyone capture and cherish memories while enabling creative freedom. 

If you need a photo booth in Las Vegas, we got you covered! Yoomee Photo Booth offers professional photo, video, and GIF booth services for your corporate and private events. Book us now, and let’s help you snap picture-perfect memories!