Anatol Josephwitz passed the time in a Siberian prison camp and ignored the bitter cold by imagining an automated photography machine he had not yet invented.
Photo booth adventurers across many generations have described a magic that takes place when the curtain is drawn and the camera is awakened by placing a few coins in a slot. Inhibitions fall and an authentic inner self emerges on a strip of four photos. Best friends smash their faces together, a girl on a boy’s lap gives him his first kiss, and a wide-eyed college kid proudly mugs for a shot that will get pasted into a first passport.
Many of the so-called dip-and-dunk chemical machines, the kind found in arcades, amusement parks and bus stations, are disappearing, but replacing them are booths with digital cameras and dye-sublimation printers.