When I lived in Paris, it seemed there was a photo booth on every corner. The French, quintessential bureaucrats, required photo documentation on all kinds of permits and applications. Perhaps they still do.
The police required a photo on my carte d’identité, a document to be carried at all times (or risk deportation). It was not enough to have a student visa… So duplicate photos, and a trip to the neighborhood photo booth.
To live in Paris as a legally documented resident meant supplying dozens of photos to a variety of institutions. (And often multiple copies for each piece of documentation.)
Photo IDs clipped to purpose-specific documents were required by the university, for class enrollment, student meals, etc. But they also afforded access to discounts on bus and metro passes, museum entry tickets, school books and student supplies.
It kept those photo booths busy…
Some of the photos were SO ugly that all you could do was laugh. So bad they could almost be taken for police mug shots…
So when Apple introduced Apple Photo Booth, a free app for devices with a built-in iSight camera, I had to laugh. To me shots taken in a photo booth reveal people in the least flattering ways possible. And no surprise: most photos shared via Apple Photo Booth are indeed unflattering… You won’t find me using that app.
Update 3/2/2011: Given Apple’s introduction of the new iPad 2 today, I may have to eat my words. Apple has promised a “new and improved” version of Photo Booth for the iPad 2 — an app that Apple claims is both lots of fun, as well as visually compelling. If that’s the case, you may find me back in “the virtual photo booth.”