My Face Is My Passport, No?

When, for most of us, looking like our passport photo is an indication that we should call it a night or get the next flight home from our debauched tourist destination, it is depressing to hear how beautiful people (I mean you Tyra Banks) are hired for glamorous (yes, modelling) jobs by just flashing their mug shots at the likes of…whoever it was that hired her!

It got me thinking, do all passport photographs have to be hideous? and to what lengths will people go to to get a good photograph?

Today I succumbed to the appealing ease of the high street photobooth (see above). I have been meaning to get a provisional license for too long now and so I got in paid my £5 (anyone else remember when it was £3.50?) and chose the least shocking of the three photos given to me.

I have to be honest and say that it is one of my better passport photos. My first ever was in black and white and I has my hair scraped tightly off my head. Result: I looked like the ghost of a Victorian child. I next renewed my passport at the beginning of uni. I decided to DIY it with the help of my grandparents and we hunted for a white back ground everywhere and settled for a large white van. I would say I looked windswept but I’m pretty sure I can only use that to justify my crazy hair and not my contorted face. Add on years of horrendous NUS, university and college card photographs and today’s photo seems like a Rankin portrait!

So what lengths do people go to to get a good passport photograph?

–There is the good old photobooth! Little less hit and miss since the days of the violent three snapper. BOOM! *You adjusting your chair* BOOM! *You looking startled as you become aware that the damn thing is taking pictures* BOOM! *You tensely holding a position looking sideways in attempt to locate the camera*. Now it’s agonizing over which unflatteringly lit photo to choose over the other…but if it’s good enough for Andy Warhol?

– Some people spend £60 going to a professional photographer. I was always sceptical as the photographs looked only marginally better than a photobooth effort. Probably because the ‘Passport Photo Package’ was born from necessity and business prospect rather than love for the art of the passport sized photo itself.

– DIY. I have tried several forms of DIY passport photographing in my younger years. The said incident with the grandparents but also with a Polaroid camera…neither of the photographs turned out well. It takes time and I needed it quickly…

I have been thinking about suggesting a new service on my facebook page. I know I could do better than a photobooth (well I should hope so) and make amazing photographs. I would base it on what I would personally like: something disarmingly kitsch and makes me look less like the grim reaper, more undiscovered supermodel. Yes, yes please.

If I could, I would turn the younger generation’s identity photos into an exhibition of throw-away sex appeal, kitsch nostalgia and raw beauty, but play very much within the Direct Government rules. Yes! I can see it now! Maybe paying a bit extra, but having at least a ten-year supply of different photographs, rather than six identical ones, that you could use for college cards, NUS cards, passports, driving license, 16-25 railcards…we all deserve it.

Bye bye photobooth! Hello beautiful photos, Polaroid cameras and wallet sized art!

Hold those thoughts and watch this space!

Love Diana

2 thoughts on “My Face Is My Passport, No?

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