Passport photos and reality

Passport and Reality” is a photography project by Suren Manvelyan and Biayna Mahari “about how different a person can look in real life and his own passport photo.” The contrast is made all the more striking when you consider that passports often don’t expire for years. Case in point: I don’t think the guy pictured above grew into his features too early (pun totally intended). It’s probably because most of the subjects are smiling in their non-passport photo, but reality seems so much more pleasant. I finally had to renew my passport last year and gladly forked over the money to the US government because it meant I could finally update the photo of me with the buzzed look I thought was a really swell idea back in college.

Back in 2003, The New York Times published this interesting piece about a passport photo service in London that celebrities and stars visit (roll call includes all four Beatles, Natalie Wood, David Brinkley, Elton John, Sean Connery and three of Joan Collins taken at 10-year intervals) because of its convenience (next to the American Embassy) and their discretion. Also, the owner said, with a wink, it helps that they’ve “got very soft lighting.”