“Photo booths historically have documented friendships, family and love,” says author Cameron Woo. “And to many people, dogs figure prominently into that circle of relationships.” In his book Photobooth Dogs (which Sarah posted about in the past), Woo collected hundreds of black and white strips, dating back eight decades, of folks posing inside picture kiosks with their loyal canine companions. “People have always wanted to immortalize their pets in portraits, be they kings and queens or the man and woman on the street.”
For seven years Woo scoured garage sales, flea markets, eBay and vintage photo dealers, collecting over 200 photos, including a prize find of Photomaton inventor Anatol Josepho mugging with his terrier in 1928, two years after the first booth debuted in New York. Woo also reached out to readers of The Bark a magazine focusing on living with dogs he founded in 1997, to acquire more recent shots.
His favorite image among the 100 final frames featured in the book is that of a burly man, pipe in mouth, gently holding his dog’s head in profile. “The dog is clearly very special to him,” Woo says. “And for a few quarters, he’s taken this splendid portrait.” Over the years, Woo himself has posed three of his dogs in a booth. “There’s a strip in the book of our dog Nellie looking a little confused while I hide behind the curtain. It’s not quite the regal shot I was looking for, but I cherish it,” Woo recounts. “The book is dedicated in her memory.”