The Photobooth Convention 2016

I love photobooths. I think if you’re a reader of this blog or if you know me at all, that’s pretty apparent. So when I found out there was a convention(!) happening in the store where I fell back in love with photobooths, I knew I absolutely 100% needed to be there for at least a part of it. Due to the extortionate train costs I opted to get a coach up to Manchester, which sadly cut out a lot of my day. Nevertheless, a few hours in the company of photobooth-fanatics like myself was exactly what I went there for.

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After arriving in Manchester just before noon I headed straight over to Fred Aldous, the most incredible arts and crafts store I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. It’s basically a treasure chest for creative folk. They have two photobooths in their store, and actually house the only colour photobooth in the UK!

As I was visiting the convention alone I was a little bit nervous at first but soon introduced myself to Kate Tyler and Steve (aka Mixup in the Photobooth world!), the organiser of the International Photobooth Convention! They were really lovely and so immediately I felt more at ease. I told them I’d come up from London to see what was going on at Fred Aldous for the convention and we got chatting about all things photobooth!

They were both doing bits for their own creative ventures which was really awesome to see – and it was interesting to see how they both used the respective booths in really different ways. Kate had images of flowers in the booth as a still life which I absolutely loved, it’s something I’ve never seen from photobooth pictures before! She also had an ongoing series where she asks people to put a balaclava on and go in the booth and I wasn’t shy of doing that! It’s a really fun way to see how people act in the booth when part of their identity is almost taken away!

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Kate was also using the booth to design some personal cards, which I thought was a terrific idea. She showed me how she normally plans them out and then I had the joy of watching her struggle quite a lot in getting some of the frames perfect ha!

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Steve also likes to get people involved in his series, one of which was in the colour booth too. He’d made a tube from cellophane I believe, and when in the booth it makes this really great distorted effect like a portal to the portrait! He was also using the black and white booth with a mirror which looked awesome, in some photos it looked like people were looking out train windows. Sadly I didn’t snap a photo of those but hopefully they’ll be on the Fred Aldous site!

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Naturally I wanted to get in on the action and take some photos in the booth! I was inspired by Kate’s use of the letters in there and thought it’d be fun to do one of my initials. I so wish we had a colour booth in London because I adore how in Fred Aldous you had free range of changing the background and how gorgeous the prints looked. I also did a couple of portraits in there with the flowers experimenting with how they looked in there and really like how they came out.

It was quite funny in one of the booth shots that Kate was trying for the card, she realised after the first shot the background was the complete wrong colour so told me to get in the booth with her!

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Fred Aldous were displaying the works that had been created each day of the convention and were scanning the strips to then blow them up into incredible size prints. It’s inspired me to get my photobooth strips scanned to a really high quality and maybe get some bigger prints of them because it’s so great to see these little photos in a much bigger size.

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Talking of the larger prints, I’m absolutely obsessed with this photo of Marco Ferrari’s, aka pplinphotobooth, because how stunning is it?! I love Marco’s work, and he’s the person to thank for most of the London booth’s being serviced so Marco, I thank you!

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Thanks to Fred Aldous for hosting the photobooth convention, and for keeping photobooths alive in the North of England. To find Kate and her work you can check out her instagram and website, her photobooth work is excellent. Steve’s work can be found on his website here, and you can also see Marco’s photobooth ventures on instagram. Spending a few hours with these guys has made me fall in love with photobooths even more and it’s definitely inspired me to be really creative in the photobooths.

If you’re interested about the London photobooths you can check out this blog post I’ve written all about the analogue booths in London, how much they cost and what the prints look like!

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