If you’re in Melbourne and want to forgo the iPhone and capture your visit in one swift nostalgic act, good news for you!
This year quite a story unfolded surrounding the old Photo Booth that stands outside the city’s busiest train station on Flinders Street. In May 2018, Metro Trains Melbourne requested that the booth, weighing 300kilograms, be removed from the site it has occupied for 56 years. It’s octogenarian owner, a dear old man named Alan Adler who along with his wife Loraine bought the booth 46 years ago, has since become quite the legend.
In a city like Melbourne, bustling with passers by, millions of commuters and a deep appreciation for the alternative, it seems bizarre that such an institution would be demanded to go. However, the booths move was prompted by works that were a part of a $100 million station upgrade that included a reconfiguration of an entrance on Flinders Street, where the photo booth was so famously set up.
The debacle was amicable, and the organisers of the Metro Trains operations did feel for Mr Adler and his love of sharing a long time hobby with the city. After news of it’s relocation broke, what unfolded was a truly charming story of restored hope in the analog nature of photography, and a rallying community of support that went in to bat for Alan. Alan himself had admitted to media as it unfolded that he understood, and said that technological advances in digital photography had relegated the slow and imperfect process of his machine to a nostalgic novelty, but it turns out that is what people of today are loving the most. There is a fascination with time and the nature of archives that comes over you as you sit in his old booth that has not only solidified memories for those who put themselves in front of its flash, but also the Adler’s themselves – some of the photos next to the sign are test prints of Adler as a younger man.
6 months later, on this day, the booth remains in its place at Flinders Street Station after overwhelming support from the public changed the minds of those in charge of the proposal. In one article, Sand Hill Road director Andy Mullins stated “a city, as much it’s made up of buildings and infrastructure, it’s actually made up of stories. Alan’s photo booth has captured so many of those people’s stories, I’m much happier that it’s at Flinders Street.”
One thing that will never be moved is the ability to partake in the act of creating memories, and the joy that comes from sharing those with others – be it passers by on a busy street, or the albums that we will pass down through generations.
Let this be motivation to seek out new modes of documentation this holiday season people of Societe.
We hope the moments you capture, whatever form, are ones you will look back on in 60 years and cherish. And if you’re in Melbourne, please do support Alan Adler by giving his little camera booth a big flashy smile.
Images one and three: Alan Adler in his photo booth, then and now.
Image two: Melbourne Musician Amarina Waters captured by Rosie Fea