Informal Photo-Booths in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Regardless of the massive adoption of digital cameras and other mobile devices capable of recording images and of the massification of amateur photography, the tradition of informal photo-booths in public spaces is still alive in Latin America. Proof of that is the diversity of informal street photography studios that one can encounter when visiting Chapultepec Park in Mexico City.

These informal photo-booths appear in different sizes, have various props, and provide different services that go from the making of fancy frames to embedding a photograph in a keyholder.

In accordance with their popular culture aesthetic of attraction and spectacle, the street photo-booths display many characters from the global and local media culture such as el Chavo del Ocho, Spiderman, and Papa Noel. These characters can join the photographs by posing with the customers.

All of the photo-booths advertise themselves with posters that talk about souvenirs, memories, and big discounts based on the reproduction of the image for little cost.

The more sophisticated informal photo-booths offer the service of “montaje” which is basically a ready-made sort of collage that juxtapose the photograph with a pre-determined background.

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