The joys of passport photos

I take a bad picture – I rarely, if ever, look even halfway respectable in pictures that are taken of me. There are about two pictures of me that I can look at and not cringe. The “Hat” picture which graces the About page is one of these. My graduation picture is most definitely not. Which is a problem considering Curly Durly is determined to keep my grad-pic in pride of place on the fireplace till she has another one to replace it (roll on July, another silly hat, and an outfit with trousers so I don’t look like a fat penguin).

My point being, if I have a picture I don’t like (i.e., most of them), I don’t show it to people. I keep going till I have one I do like. Good karma must be accruing to the chappy who thought of modern photo-booths where you can have several attempts to look human. What I definitely don’t do is use a picture that makes me look (quite frankly) like a startled ghost that has stuck its finger in an electrical socket. Especially when this picture is to be placed on something that will be in use for a minimum of five years.

The thing with my job is, I get to look at lots and lots of faces. Around twenty thousand at the last count. And most of the pictures are really rather good – though if I had a penny for every time I’ve heard “oh, I hope I don’t break the camera”, I’d probably have enough for an external hard drive and a pair of glasses by now. Clearly, the majority of people in the Soton region at least feel the same as me. You make an effort not to submit pictures that make you look, quite frankly, deranged.

All of which makes the odd one all the more special. Everyone took one look at the picture, blinked, looked again to make sure, then went “oh… dear…” I will NOT be surprised if we get a phone call from the lady asking if we can reissue her card with another picture on it.

Whilst we don’t keep formal lists, there are some names that stand testament to how cruel parents can be (and how Terry Prachett the world is sometimes), and there are some faces which have become firm favourites. This lady, bless her pink eye shadow, is definitely one of the better ones.

(And no, we’re not being cruel, laughing at people. We are doing it in a loving and respectful manner. That, and if we didn’t do it occasionally, we would all go stir crazy).

7 thoughts on “The joys of passport photos

  1. No I do not, and I have no intention of getting one till I absolutely have to, which will be a while yet because:

    I don’t plan on travelling to the States any time soon.
    My current passport (a perfectly valid one) doesn’t run out till 2010 and I don’t see why I should have to renew it before then.
    I object strongly to my biometric data being held in a database that is in the control of a foreign power and, on top of which, will be subjected to illegal searches each and every time they are on the prowl for a wrong-doer. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    I have a very long and involved rant against biometric passports/id cards and the like, but now isn’t really the time to get into it.

    Perhaps if I wait long enough the good old US of A will have blown itself up and this will no longer be a problem? Unlikely, but hey. Stranger things have happened.

  2. I’ll probably pick one up next year, but that’s due to necessity (plus my passport runs out the following year).

  3. In your situation, I can imagine it’s just a case of sucking it up and getting the biometric passport. That, or go through the rigmarole of getting a visa each time, and they probably get your bio. data then anyway.

    Don’t forget though – no smiling in your passport photo. They have snazzy new machines to read your facial expression that get all confused if you flash your pearly whites at them.
    *roll eyes*
    Yes, we live in an era of highly sophisticated technology people.

    I’m gonna have a serious problem with that: me not smiling is like snow falling in LA – very very rare.

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