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  • Writer's pictureG. Jacquot

Photo Booth History

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Anatol Marco Josepho (March 31, 1894 – December 16, 1980), born Anatol Josephewitz, was a Siberian immigrant to the United States from Omsk, Russia, who invented and Patented the first automated photo booth in 1925, which was named the "Photomaton". In 1927, he was paid one million dollars for the invention.


Josepho Anatol: Josepho's father was a wealthy jeweler and his mother died when he was three years old. He developed a close bond with his father and became interested in the Wild West cultural phenomenon of expansion in the United States in the late 1800s. He began taking photographs with a Brownie Camera produced by the Eastman Kodak Company during his childhood and he attended a local technical institute to pursue his growing interest in photography in 1909 at the age of 15. Anatol fled his home country of Siberia after the 1917 Russian Revolution. He moved to china, opening a photo studio in Shanghai, then to the United States. In the early 1920s, he worked in New York to develop the Photomaton. In July 1926, he met and married Ganna Belle Kehlmann (January 10, 1904-October 19, 1978). The two were friends with their neighbor, performer Will Rogers and his wife Betty Blake. They had two children, both boys. He died on December 16, 1980 at the age of 86 in a rest home in La Jolla from a series of strokes.

The Photomaton

Josepho's invention of the photo booth, known as the "Photomaton", debuted in September 1925 at 1659 Broadway Street in Manhattan, located in the heart of New York City. The Photomaton charged twenty-five cents for a strip of eight photos that were developed in eight minutes. White-gloved attendants stayed by the machine during hours of operation to control the crowds as well as to provide maintenance for the machine. The Photomaton Company was created to place Photomaton machines all over the country. Future President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a member of the board of directors. In 1928, Josepho sold the rights to the machine to Henry Morgenthau for $1,000,000, equivalent to $13,947,674 in 2016.

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