Have An Uneasy Relationship With Your Photo ID? This May Give You Hope

It was not so long ago that photos displaying a bad hair day or an acne breakout could be safely locked away in the privacy of a bottom drawer.

Some of you might remember the luxury of being able to pick and choose which photo of your person would escape for public consumption. Remember sitting around with friends looking through photo albums that had passed through the family’s Censorship Department? Apart from your passport photo for which you were always suitably attired and somewhat somber, there were generally no photos circulating out there for which you had not primped and prepared. And all of this before the days of Photoshop.

Let’s roll the film forward (pun intended) to the present day in which photo ID cards abound. Apart from having a photo album on tap via a smart phone, most people walk around with a photo album of bureaucratic memories in their wallets. An absolute highlight reel of bureaucratic encounters and of putting your best worst face forward.

Rowan Atkinson funny ID photo

Some of my personal chart topping looks are:

  • Drawn, Haggard And Sunburned at the Motor Registry
  • You’re Kidding, A Photo, Really? at my local social club
  • You’re a Security Guy Taking This In A Dimly Lit Dungeon Using a Two Bit Camera at my work place
  • Gonna Have To Live With This Legacy For As Long as I Work Here also at my work place

Now, I don’t know about you, but the question of whether I’m going to have a photo taken on any given day is not on my daily morning checklist. It is enough to race out of the house in the morning with two matching shoes. I can’t tell you how many times I have confused navy with black in the early morning light. As a business woman, I know I’m not meant to talk about this. We are after all high-powered, multitasking infallible Amazons! But, a straw poll of some of my fellow working friends reveals that this is more common than the polished, together, high-powered female business fraternity have you believe.

So, I have never worried about how I look in ID photos. Then again, I have never had to date in the world of ID photos. Perhaps it’s different when a potential would-be beau is looking through your wallet and stumbles upon Drawn, Haggard and Sunburned at the Motor Registry. Better he sees the real you, I think. Less room for morning after the night before surprises.

I am now wondering what happens to the mountains of ID photos once they are taken. As I’m writing this, I have visions of faceless bureaucrats scouring through mountains of photo ID’s looking for hot dates, perhaps even plotting the creation of a ranking system like in the beginning of the Facebook movie.

It is impossible to believe there will ever come a time when we can offer up our own selfies to bureaucracy.

However, I’m pleased to report that a photo ID miracle occurred this week. Having stumbled into a situation where I needed to create a new photo ID, I headed off to the gallows photo centre to get shot. The lighting wasn’t great (is it ever?) and the camera operator was not a professional. Nevertheless, after a little congenial conversation around how this was my third attempt at navigating bureaucracy to obtain the ID and a couple of clicks I had my photo. Expecting the worst, I took the card, eyes going straight to the mug shot. And then the angels sang! The photo was passable, even more than half way decent. It even looks like a happy and excited me. Actually, it’s probably more likely relief that I had finally been succesful in my quest to secure this ID.

So this has restored my faith in the amateur model, amateur photgrapher shoot and produce process. I now have a new chart topping look – Happy, Excited And Ready For Anything.

And I have learned that it is possible to ace the photo ID and carry around a bureaucratic legacy which you can proudly show anyone, even a would-be beau!

Do you get anxious about having your photo taken? Given the opportunity, do you prepare your appearance for a photo ID shot?

About the curtain raiserhttp://raisingthecurtain.netI have spent my life in offices. For now I am putting that behind me and preparing for the second act. Middle age didn't come with acceptable signposts so I am making my own through my writing. A journey shared is more fun than going it solo.

35 thoughts on “Have An Uneasy Relationship With Your Photo ID? This May Give You Hope

  1. I try and ‘pimp’ up a bit for my drivers license and of course the Passport shot! Where smiling is not an option, staid, boring and “You mean you can only take 1 shot’??? wtf is that all about, the cost of getting your passport surely would allow a minimum of 3 glamour ones to you could choose 😉 I laughed at you happy, excited and ready for anything look – like smiling whilst sticking your finger in a light socket? 🙂 xxx

    • There should definitely be choices with passport photos becuase you end up getting in quadruplicate so the insanity ends up repeating. I’m glad you laughed, this is a good day, then! Jen, this photo is great. I would even put it in the family album if I didn’t have to carry it around with me. First time ever 🙂

  2. I guess the same standards are now applied worldwide to photo IDs? The European ID standards requires you to look straight into the camera (no more choosing your sweetest side) and you must not smile with teeth being visible.
    It is very hard not to look like a criminal on these photos. Also babies need to have an ID now and I have seen some of those photos – even cute toddlers look like criminals. “Increasing success by lowering expectations” my ID photo was better than I expected though.

    • We are not at a stage yet where babies need photo ID unless they are applying for a passport, but wow. We also have standards, no smiling, no glasses etc. You’re right about it being hard not to look like a criminal. Especially when you know you will be assigned a number!

  3. My problem is my license looks too much like me. Maybe we should take your “dating” comment and set up new Matchmaker website with the bad pictures.. This is me at my worst. Do you want to go out with me?

  4. Hold tight to that photo! As you point out, a good ID photo is a rare find indeed! Now they don’t even let you smile for passport photos. I look like a serial killer in mine. Not pretty.

    • My issue is that I normally have to take off my glasses as well. So not only no smiles, but a whole lot of squinting and looking towards where I think the camera is. Sort of mastered the art of the quizzical non-smile.

    • I did, this one’s a keeper. Which is a very good thing becuase I’m going to be using it for at least a couple of years. Hmmm I wonder if there is a frame you can by for photo ID’s or an enlargement service. I should have asked for a copy – darn!

  5. I never think too much about getting my photo taken, but then again I don’t have it taken very often.

  6. I’ve taken so many ID shots, that now I just try to make a goofy face.
    But I do still have my old license, with the worst pic ever.
    Seriously, when people used to have conversations about who had the worst license pic, I would just silently take mine out, drop it on the bar, and let the laughter begin.
    It was epically bad.

    • I love that, licence ID photo with maximum impact. I think we all have one of those that is just so bad it deserves to be placed in the laugh worthy hall of fame. You wonder how the camera guys keep a straight face.

  7. I had a really good ID photo for Revesby Workers Club. The camera was located somewhere up near the ceiling, so it gave me the illusion of some very impressive cleavage. I’m convinced it was a man who set up that camera, and I think he’d had practice.

  8. I have two very opposite id photos. For my military dependent id I was standing waiting to be photographed. Just as the photo was about to be taken someone walked between me and the camera, this cracked me up and I was laughing, best photo of me ever!! I love that photo. For my drivers license I look like I should be in a stack of photos for the most wanted list. Of course this after I had provided every form of certificate and verification of my existence and they still didn’t believe I was me. I took the picture, but it says I really want to flatten anyone in my path. I am certain it would scare the rats out of a sewer… Great post. DAF

    • How wonderful you have a photo ID repetoire! Thay way depending on what mood you are in, you can pull the appropriate one out and let your photo do the talking. I love that the military let you laugh!

  9. Pingback: Thanks for the emotions | dearanonymousfriend

  10. I’ve actually gotten over caring about that. Years of caring and never having the photos turn out the way I liked anyway has made me give up even trying to look presentable.

  11. Hi Judy – I’ve come over via Lee’s post re his Ambassadors … so pleased you found us and continue to post and enter your 2nd Challenge …

    Photos are something I’m not happy with – but I need to do something about them in the next few months and start looking more respectable!!

    Cheers and see you around the A-Z .. Hilary

  12. Hi Judy, I too have found you via Lee’s post about his A to Z Ambassadors. Glad I did–I like your sense of humor. I’ll follow you. My blog is a tad more on the serious side, but I hope you’ll find something you like there too. http://www.conflicttango.com
    I’m looking forward to the April challenge.

  13. I tried to get an author pic taken yesterday, and nearly gave myself a migraine! Great to meet another of Lee’s Ambassadors, and I look forward to your A to Z posts!

  14. I usually try and put on a bit of makeup for an ID photo, not that it seems to help. My work ID is so bad it’s makes people laugh, then take pity!

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