Guten Tag! Tell us what inspired you to transform a retro van into a photo booth?
We’ve both been working in the photography industry for more than a decade. Sarah is a make-up artist and I’m a photographer. As thrilling as our professions can be, we wanted to do something different, something unique. I’d been working on the photo booth concept for four years and when we found our van, in 2013, everything sort of fell into place. We stripped it down, put a lot of heavy work into it, and created a one-of-kind space where people could come in and play, and take great photos of themselves having the time of their lives. We believe that Cliff McLane will give photo booths back their dignity.
What’s the story behind the famous Cliff McLane truck?
Our truck is a 1982 Mercedes-Benz 407 D. The previous owner was an MB technician, so we were lucky enough to get it in pretty good shape. The concept I had in mind required a lot of room, and there’s no other classic vehicle weighing up to 3.5 tonnes that provides as much space as the 407 D. This truck made our dream mobile photo booth come to life!
We named the van Cliff McLane after a character in the 1960s German cult television series “Space Patrol Orion.” The best part of our truck is that it looks like your typical classic van on the outside. You would never be able to guess what awaits you on the inside. But once you step in, you are transported into another era, a 1970/80s lounge with a plush vintage sofa, retro wallpaper and an entire wall lit up with animated LED lights.
Guests are invited to sit down on the couch, look into the screen and capture moments by a simple tap of their foot on a control panel. They become their own photographers. Pretty innovative isn’t it?
What are some of Cliff McLane’s other features?
Other than being on wheels, Cliff McLane differentiates itself from other photo booths with its fish-eye camera lens. This type of lens gives a distorted, spherical view of its environment and creates wide panoramic images. Just take a look at some of our photos. You’ll see what I mean.
The van also features retro games, such as e-guitar and Nintendo’s Super Mario. We have built-in printers to give our guests access to their photos within minutes, e-mail access and a number of social media stations. All of which makes for an unforgettable experience.
We’ve been traveling throughout Germany with Cliff McLane for more than 20,000 miles now. Our mobile photo booth concept has drawn a lot of attention and has been an obvious success. We’re presently looking into purchasing a second van, or perhaps even a bus this time. We have our eye on an old L 319. We’ll let you know when it’s ready to shoot!
Base on the original text of Mathias Ebeling
Photos: Christoph Pforr