Bern Boyle

1951–1992

Bern Boyle (1951-1992) curated the “Photomaton” show at the Pyramid Arts Center in Rochester, NY (11/20/87 - 1/2/88) and his book that accompanied it was the first compilation of photobooth history. Boyle was also the founder of the San Francisco Gay Film Festival, now called Frameline, in 1976 and a founder of the nation's oldest LGBT bookstore in Philadelphia. I knew him as a mail artist who lived down the street from Carlo Pittore’s Galleria Della Occhio on East 10th Street here in Manhattan in the '80s. Bern was an excellent photographer who took amazing pictures of road kill, which may or may not have begun when he was diagnosed with AIDS. His photobooth work was directly related to that diagnosis which eventually took his life. He wrote in his catalog, “Beginning on New Year's Day, 1986, I began a year-long project of making at least one photo booth picture each day… Living in New York City, I had been seeing friends and acquaintances suddenly dying before their time. These tragedies, and my mother's terminal illness, made me confront my own mortality.”

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