‘Is that a photo booth? We totally need to get a sister picture together!’ And we bolted to the street-side photo booth that we had stumbled upon as we discovered our neighbourhood in Florence, silently agreeing that we’d be in for something good.
This photo booth was a pretty nondescript entity hidden in a dark corner. It was raining and slightly cold, and the idea of spending a few warm minutes inside an instant photo booth came as a a respite. Upon closer inspection we realised that the photobooth was much older than what it looked, and was priced much cheaper than what we expected 😃
A gentleman was getting his pictures clicked inside so we waited out in the cold night. I remember breaking out into fits of laughter… You know those moments when there is a huge problem staring at you in the face and you have no solution, so you might as well just give in to the problem with a huge smile on your face to feel less terrible? That was our attitude that night (and throughout the trip) as we realised European temperatures during autumn were similar to peak winter in India, and no matter how many layers we wore, the cold wind would manage to seep right in to our bones.
Have you ever been to a photobooth? Entering that tiny dark space inside the photo booth is quite a surreal experience I feel…even with it’s cosy and comforting interiors there’s something quite intimidating about the space. Has it got anything to do with the fact that we know that we are being watched? 💭
What started out in Europe in the late 1800s made its way around the world and slowly entered pop culture as the advent of polaroid photography enabled photo booths to become a permanent fixture at arcades and stores in the 1960s. Today we take photo booths for granted, treating them as boring equipments that only take mugshots. But here’s the thing- a picture is worth a thousand words, and I feel something much more than that. A picture is how you keep memories alive. They bring back stories that you would have otherwise forgotten about.
One look at this picture takes me back to the cold rainy night in Florence, walking around Uffizi Gallery, trying to decide what to eat where, giggling outside this vintage photo booth in the middle of a cosmopolitan neighbourhood, profusely thanking the Italian gentleman for helping us out with change, laughing some more as we got our polaroids printed, laughing all the way back till the main square, and settling into an Irish bar with our pale ales and fried fish.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a thousand more memories.