Monday, March 2, 2009

picture perfect?

Raise your hand if you like your driver's license photo. How about your passport photo? Yeah, didn't think so. But it could be worse: you could be trying to renew your Dutch passport and have to subject yourself to the Dutch government's idea of an acceptable passport photo.

Case in point: I thought I'd pop into Kinko's to get my picture taken before my appointment with the Dutch Consulate next week. Hah, wish life were so easy! After intently studying a four-page (!) document describing the do's and don'ts of passport photography, it quickly became apparent that the blue-shirted fellow with the instamatic wasn't going to cut it. I needed to bring in some heavier guns if I was to avoid being in violation of Dutch passport code umpteen-thousand-and-six.

Think I'm joking? Well, let's play a little game, shall we? See if you can guess what's wrong with the 15 photos below. I've listed the answers under the photos so if you don't want to cheat, don't scroll down too far.

1 - black and white (okay, that one's easy)
2 - optical distortion (how would you know, maybe she's just got high cheek bones?!)
3 - unnatural representation (huh?! is it because he looks like a Smurf?)
4 - visible support (it's a baby, for cryin' out loud!)
5 - reflection (the lesson here: don't forget to powder your nose!)
6 - background not uniformly lit (words escape me...)
7 - more than one background color (sorry, no mall portraits, folks)
8 - merging background colors (see above)
9 - insufficient background contrast
10 - insufficient background contrast
11 - face not entirely visible
12 - eyes not entirely visible
13 - eyeglasses reflection (this was the downfall of Mr. Blueshirt)
14 - eyeglasses shadow
15 - not centered in frame (missed it by that much!)

I don't have a visual aid for it, but the one that gets me the most is this one: under no circumstances may you have your mouth open. What?! I can't show off my pearly whites and say cheeeeze? How un-American! Oh, wait, I'm renewing my Dutch passport...

To be fair, although "applicants may not smile broadly or open their mouths," they did add that this "does not mean that they have to look surly or sullen." After all, we Dutchies are a merry people, full of joy and zest!

Well, the kind and expert folks at Ritz Camera downtown Portland did an excellent job of following all the rules and regulations – I hope! Guess I'll find out in a few weeks...

I know you're all dying to see my final passport photo, so here it is: (don't laugh, it's worse than my driver's license picture!)

Hope they don't notice that sheen on the tip of my nose!


clairewijnen said...

HAHAHA~! I totally know what you mean-you can not SMILE and it makes people look either angry or depressed. But ya know, you have forgotten one rule that they got me for... you can not have your hair in front of your ears! Serioulsy, you have to tuck you hair behind so that you can see them- well thats what they made me do anyways- your pic isnt bad though! Ive seen you look happier.I have to get mine done soon too! Wish me luck- ;)

easy to miss dot com said...

my photo on my dutch residency card is AWFUL. glasses are positioned a bit strangely to avoid a glare & my hair is tucked behind my ears (because they need to see them?!)... ugh!

better than my texas drivers license though, which for some reason makes me look bright orange even though my face is super white.