This hilarious project shows that passport photos don’t have to be boring

Aug 20, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This hilarious project shows that passport photos don’t have to be boring

Aug 20, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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When I mention the most boring, uninspiring type of images, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Passport photos, of course. But Namibian-German visual artist Max Siedentopf found his inspiration in them and he managed to turn them the other way around. In his project Passport Photos, these images are anything but boring! They’re amusing, quirky and hilarious, and unlike the actual passport photos, they’ll put a big smile on your face.

We’ve all been photographed for a passport, and we know what it looks like. “Heavily restricted and regulated, the official passport photo requirements include that the subject needs to face the camera straight on, needs a clear background without shadow, no fashion covering hair, no glare on glasses, no smile,” Max explains. Of course, a photo regulated this way leaves no room for any kind of self-expression. Or does it?

Max’s project challenges these strict, official rules. His subjects aren’t sitting still in a dull booth, trying to stay perfectly still and without any facial expression. Instead, Max tests all the things a person could be doing while taking an official document photo.

As a result, Max created a series of “traditional” passport photos but he added behind-the-scenes shots alongside them. His subjects are “dressed” in toilet paper, garbage bags, or oversized clothes. Most of them are placed in the weirdest situations you can imagine. The wider context is visible in the BTS shots, while the subjects are being all serious in the cropped “passport photo.”

When I first saw this project, some of these images made me laugh out loud like a lunatic. I admire Max for all these weird situations he came up with, but I also admire his models for keeping the straight face while posing. I bet it was quite a challenge! Check out more fantastic Passport Photos and read more about Max below.

About Max

Max grew up in Windhoek, Namibia and continued to work in Berlin, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam. He is currently based in London. He is a visual artist, publisher, director at Riffraff, co-founder of Ordinary Magazine, and creative director and partner of Kesselskramer.

You can check out more of his awesome work on his website and Instagram, and learn more about the Passport Photos project here.

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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5 responses to “This hilarious project shows that passport photos don’t have to be boring”

  1. John Atkin Avatar
    John Atkin

    Umm, surely this actually shows that passport photos themselves do have to be exceptionally boring…?

  2. Sergi Yavorski Avatar
    Sergi Yavorski

    This is boring

    1. Buy a Sense of Humor Avatar
      Buy a Sense of Humor

      You’re wrong. This is fun.

  3. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    Do you still need to bring along prints for pasport? Not where I come from.

    1. Dunja0712 Avatar
      Dunja0712

      In Serbia we don’t, but it’s only since recently. However, you do need to bring prints for some other documents. For example, I had to do it when I was extending my driver’s license. The prints stay in the archives, and they still photograph you at the DMV for the actual license. Stupid, I know. :D