We introduce the most beloved, most famous and most frequented photo booths on the planet.
We think a strip of photos from a photo booth is the best souvenir you can bring back from a holiday or recent celebration with friends. Luckily, there are plenty of famous photo booths around the world that give us the opportunity to collect unique memories that we can stick on our bedroom walls forever. For many a hipster, a trip to Berlin isn’t complete without a couple of sessions in a beaten-up old photoautomat, and anyone who’s been to Tokyo may have noticed that people are going a bit crazy for the purikura photo booths over there. So dump your selfie stick; it’s time to visit the best photo booths around the world. Here are seven of the most iconic.
1. Berlin: Zimmerstraße, Mitte
Berlin’s traditional photoautomats are as much a part of the city’s cultural identity as its divided past, its street art and its dark underground bars. The distinctive booths are dotted all over the city and, for the price of €2 (AU$3.10) and a two-and-a-half-minute wait, they spit out a strip of four black and white, chemically-developed photos. The booth on Zimmerstraße in Mitte is overshadowed by Trabi World (a museum dedicated to the Trabant Car seen in Berlin’s post-war East) and Berlin’s famous Weltballoon hot air balloon, so there are great photo opportunities both inside and out.
2. Tokyo: Purikura No. Mecca, Shibuya
Since they emerged in 1995, Purikura (short for ‘print club’ in Japanese) photo booths have been all the rage in Tokyo. Appealing to the Japanese obsession with outrageous cuteness (kawaii), the booths print user-edited selfies onto stickers. Users can opt for colourful borders, ‘cute’ giant eyes and perfectly smooth skin until they are virtually unrecognisable. The best place to find a booth? We recommend Purikura No. Mecca in the Shibuya district.
3. London: Rough Trade East, Brick Lane
Music-lovers and other wandering hipsters, holiday-makers and photo booth-enthusiasts can pile into a booth for a few snaps at the Brick Lane branch of London’s independent record store, Rough Trade. The store also has live music events and art exhibitions, both things that are incomplete without a photo booth in our humble opinion.
4. New York: The Smith, East Village
According to the manager of The Smith restaurant in New York’s East Village, people are always trying to set records for how many can fit into this traditional photo booth. “The most I’ve seen is about seven people, but who knows how many have actually been in there,” he recently told Timeout New York. We reckon we could beat that.
5. Sydney: Newtown Hotel, Newtown
For those Sydney-siders of you who aren’t thinking of living the city any time soon, you may like to pop into the Newtown Hotel for a tipsy photo booth experience. The pub emerged out of its 2012 renovation with a booth and many a night out has been documented in thin strips of photos ever since.
6. Paris: Abbesses (Metro), Montmartre
In Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s beloved 2001 film, Amélie, the love story between the protagonist and mysterious photographer and photo collector, Nino Quincampoix, revolves around a photo booth in Abbesses Metro Station. Unfortunately the booth is only fictional, but it’s existence is as ingrained in photo booth culture as if it were real. Alas, Amélie fans will just have to imagine it’s there next time they catch a train at Abbesses, and perhaps snap a quick smartphone selfie.
7. Melbourne: Photoplus, Swanston Street
For a bit of Japanese-style Purikura photo booth action closer to home, there is a little Japanese shop full of booths on Swanson Street in the centre of Melbourne. Photoplus offers booths with both digital and sticker print-outs, as well as a range of phone accessories and gifts. So, those of you looking for a kawaii fix, you don’t even have to leave the country for it. You’re welcome.