Picture Yourself: The Photobooth in America, 1926-2010

May 11 - September 12, 2010
Wilbur Room

In its Wilbur Room cases this summer, the Fleming Museum presents a selection from the world's leading collection of American photobooth photography assembled by Burlington-based artist and photo historian Näkki Goranin.

The exhibition traces the development of this compelling genre of self-portraiture in photographs of individuals from all walks of life, young and old, as well as couples, families, friends, and pets. The photographs range from portraits taken in cowboy hat and kerchief available in the studio to formal portraits of soldiers as they departed for service in WWII; from kids clowning to series of portraits made over many years that trace the development of a young man or the maturation of a marriage. In addition to photostrips and individual pictures, also on view are hand-colored photographs, documenting a valued service available to photobooth patrons for a charge, prior to the introduction of color photography.

Created in photobooths across America from the 1920s to the present, these intimate images present a rare self-portrait of 20th-century America, with more recent examples including digital photobooth images and contemporary artistic use of photobooth photography. The exhibition includes a photobooth from the 1930s and a working booth from the 1960s. For over eight decades, America has responded to the invitation to "Picture Yourself ." Visitors to the Fleming may follow in this tradition by taking their own photobooth portraits.