Fotomat Memories

So I was thinking the other day about one of my early jobs as a one hour photo technician. I worked at a local family photo lab, a thing that now you really only find at Walmart. I tried to explain to my kids about how the process worked with developing the film then printing the images and running them through a chemical bath resulting in your single or double prints. I guess they just assumed that pictures were always captured on a SD card and then stored or printed from the home computer. We’ve come along way from sending in our 110 film in the mail to some mysterious place that would return the oddly shaped photos 6 weeks later.

So this brought me to think about the old blue box with the yellow pyramid roof, Fotomat. Back in the 80’s when I was a kid you would see these photo “labs” in the parking lots of your local grocery store or strip mall. Now I can’t exactly remember what the insides completely looked like but working in a photo lab (sounds professional) I can’t imagine the tech having much room to move around. I do however remember that my mother would usually just pull up to the drive thru like window to drop off film to be developed that day.

Sadly there are no more yellow pyramids in parking lots across the US but I know here there is still one building standing in a local plaza . The old Fotomat booth has been a locksmith shop, a wiper blade exchange booth, and I think at one time an ATM site. There is nothing currently in the booth, and it has changed shape and color over the years but for me even at 38 I still see the old blue & yellow Fotomat booth when I drive by.


Photo [via] The Director’s Desk


I grew up in western New York in the late 70's early-mid 80's playing with my Star Wars and Fisher Price adventure people. I have to say it was a good time.

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