Rendered obsolete by technology, hundreds of abandoned Fotomat drive-thru photo development kiosks still stand in suburban shopping center parking lots.
Founded in the mid-1960s, Fotomat specialized in drive-thru, “One Day Photo Service”… that’s right kids, people once had to wait until the next day to see photos (presumably of dinosaurs) they took with their clunky analog cameras. By 1980, over four thousand yellow & blue, pyramid-roofed Fotomat kiosks were scattered across suburban parking lots from coast to coast. Built to last on cast-concrete berms, hundreds of abandoned and re-purposed Fotomat kiosks still stand, reminding us of better days and good times cast in Kodachrome.
Fotomat Corporation sold out to Konica in 1986 – a timely move to be sure, considering the late-1980s advent of film processing minilabs that reduced photo development time from a day to just an hour. Now that’s progress! The subsequent introduction of digital cameras and then, camera-equipped smartphones were the final nails in Fotomat’s coffin.
Leave a Reply