Photo Gallery | Amurica: Vintage camper turned photo booth snaps thousands
It's a 1959 silver teardrop camper turned photo booth that has snapped thousands of faces from different parking lots among several other locations in Memphis.
The facial expressions and group mannerisms behind Amurica's quirky photos are priceless to many. It all started as an art project, and Jamie Harmon hauling the camper out of Arkansas.
"I kind of had an idea. But I had to have it, and I knew it would be something. It was like a painting, where you would paint and have to walked away for awhile, and see if it's finished," said Harmon.
Harmon negotiated a month for it, and then the collective decorating began. It was Harmon's sons idea to plaster the camper's wall with photos.
Christmas string lights were strung. items from unique glasses, a Kermit the Frog doll, to a large horse mask, and other unique props that are a rarity.
"We were traveling in Belgium, and came across a costume shop. There was a eagle head," said Harmon sharing how he collects items for Amurica. "Instead of a typical mask on a stick, and I try to find something harder to get than at a party city."
Harmon shares that his project is not a political one in the least — but rather just a fun experience for anyone who willing to have their photo taken.
"It's funny to look at, and inviting to people. It lets me drive a silly car that's interesting. It's non-threatening unlike a car that is tinted. I've been lead to great conversations," said Harmon. "The photo booth is ultimately reaching out to people.
As far as how the project and camper got its name, Harmon it just fell in place with the Americana.
"Amurica is the home of the red, white trash and blue so - trailer parks... kitchy folkart feel of the project," he said.
In the beginning, Harmon wasn't charging for Amurica photos. He studied the logistics behind printing permanent instant photos. His method is similar to how photographers process instant pictures of Santa and kids at the mall.
Then the cost of printing became too much to just giveaway photos. And now after a couple of years, Harmon is starting to make a business transition.
"Basically, thinking about doing something that I love to do. I'm not selling out, I'm buying in, or whatever term," he said.
As a lifelong photographer, Harmon said at this point he wants to make what started as an art project a more legitimate business version.
"Most rentals come out of, basically, word of mouth or friends, or Facebook and social media. Things that are live in Midtown, Weddings, once to an event in Atlanta," he said.
But, Harmon said he would like to start traveling outside of the 240 loop. He plans to take a month-long journey with Amurica to make a video documentary of the photo booth and the people who stop by to take a picture in the camper.
You keep up with the latest about Amurica by following its Facebook page here.