Photo Strip Momentos
Photo Strips for a Lifetime
I have been smitten by photo booths since a young child. I remember Christmas shopping for my mother with my dad, brother, and sister, we spontaneously jumped in a photo booth in the mall, at the suggestion of our dad. Always, minding the budget my mom wasn't one to give in to such novelties. My guess is it cost something around $5 for duplicates. Exactly the kind of price dad would pay whereas mom would not. The kind of $5 that transformed into a magical memory of my childhood and my sibling-hood. I enjoy that photo more than any others with my siblings. It captured me at one of the more awkward phases of my youth, my sister still very much a child and my brother entering his teen years but still silly enough to enjoy the photo booth. I love that you can see our excitement and the ticking of the clock in between photos as we decided how to pose. I love that you can glimpse those decisions on our faces and feel the connection between each of us. I love that the nature of the photo booth encourages people to show their uniqueness and expressions in a playful way. Lots of tongues sticking out, cheeks puffed out, eyes crossed, and reciprocal action. We included our photo strip in a gift to mom that year, and she still has it. The candid nature and multiple takes captures something of our spirits at that age and time. It shows an essence that is not captured in stills, nor in videos. Therein lies a nostalgia & mystery.
Fast forward some years, 2009. I was working for a catering company, one like "Party Down", we wore all black, worked as professional servers maintaining sturdy aspirations, and seeking to have as much fun as possible at events we were working without getting caught. We really did work hard, served good food, kept the place immaculate, etc. But, let's face it, we also sampled the foods, the beverages, the cake...and whatever other little thrills we could get away with while boss mama was distracted. At the first wedding I worked, I remember having a blast. It was the most decadent affair I had been to. There were fireworks and servers (myself included) schmoozing the crowd with perfect little platters of hors d'oeuvres, and the real icing on the cake that night...a photo booth! Wow, how on earth did they get that here and what a brilliant idea! Is it free? Do we get to partake? I side eyed it all night, checking out the line and keeping tabs on the boss. I informed the others and we made it our night's goal to get in that booth. We eventually made a fast break, something of which I have realized is universal for catering teams. We made it inside the photo booth, the uncertainty in the air and the high stakes of knowing if we were some how found out, boss lady would not be happy, made the photos even more epic. I have always carried that photo strip in my car, on display in the passenger visor. I love that it reminds me of that time in my life, I can still smell the aromas of the kitchen and hear the jokes made in the kitchen. It reminds me of where I came from and how much fun I had at the bottom, serving. I love to see the camaraderie of a team of servers and it reminds me of the nights spent after events, sharing our aspirations and exchanging grumbles in light hearted fashion. I like that I can see not only the faces of people I would have long since forgotten, but the faces of myself that night. A younger, hopeful, and yet very uncertain self that was just enjoying the luxuries of the night, albeit covertly.