Passport photos are as exciting as getting them taken. But while there’s nothing we can do about the former, we sure can improve the latter. Namibian-German artist Max Siedentopf has just released a project that pokes fun at traditional passport photography, trying to inject as much self-expression in this mind-numbing experience as possible.
“I recently had to renew my passport and, of course, also needed to get a new passport photo taken,” Siedentopf told. “While sitting in front of the camera and keeping a straight face, I was wondering how something so dull could be ‘tricked’ and get some more excitement into the whole process of passport photography.
Image credits: Max Siedentopf
Since Max works across several disciplines, including design, photography, and publishing, he quickly came up with an idea. The official passport photo requirements include that the subject needs to face the camera straight on, needs a clear background without shadow, no glare on glasses and most importantly; no smile. However, they say nothing about what happens outside of the shot.
“Passport photos have their purpose for being so strict, but in an age of funny selfies and Instagram filters, it would, of course, be nice to see if that could also be applied to your passport,” Max added.
After coming up with all the crazy posing activities for his models, Siedentopf started shooting them. But the ridiculously over-the-top setup has taken its toll. For example, one of the photos had the subject standing behind a fire, which unexpectedly turned into a 10-foot flame…
“[It’s] still a bit early to say if any of the models will use these pictures for their passports,” Max said. “However, the photos follow all the official requirements so I sure hope that some of them will use them in the near future.”