Smile & Relax

Smile & Relax is an award winning short independent film made inside a photo-booth machine. This app includes the film, the script, commentary, photo strip stills, and an essay.

Before Apple attached the term to its iSight software, the photo booth was a vending machine that had an automated camera and film processor.  Much like a confessional, the photo booth contained a seat designed for one or two patrons. Once the quarters were dropped into a slot, the photo booth began to take a series of photographs.  A light or a buzzer went off before each photograph was snapped signaling the patron to pose. After the last photograph in the series had been shot, the photo booth began developing the film,  a process which took several minutes. The anticipation of seeing the final results was part of the fun.

The modern concept of the photo booth with a curtain, screen or other material covering the background and entrance originated with Anatol Josepho in 1925 with the first machine appearing on Broadway in New York City.

The curtain provided privacy, which allowed subjects to create a fantasy or an illusion of themselves, a private performance piece that was documented in four parts.

The term “smile & relax” was one of the written “tips” inside the machine for good results.

Smile & Relax spins a yarn through time-lapse and motion control photography with the assistance of a photo booth machine. The subject, an aspiring dancer, recounts a tale of love and affection while moving through a calliope of self portraits. Beautiful and heinous, happy and sad, smart and silly, are just a few of the emotions locked and loaded in a repeating volley of images thrown at viewers (the photos are the actual film strips from the photo booth machine). Other times the images are slowed down, allowing viewers to scrutinize every frame and facial change, as if under water.  The film is a hell of a ride in less than 7 minutes.”  – Robert Ziebell