If you look like your passport photo, you’re too sick too travel. — Will Komen
When my new passport came in the mail a few weeks ago, I was very excited. My old passport had been issued around 10 years ago, and since then the passport has been redesigned for the better with an embedded chip and more attractive pages for all the stamps I hope to accumulate. Where the pages on the old one were adorned with state seals, the new one has intricate drawings and Presidential quotes. But the best part of my new passport? I actually like my photo.
I absolutely hated my old passport photo. Of course, I was not alone in feeling this way. While I couldn’t find any official data on this, I’m fairly certain that the majority of Americans at least dislike their passport photos. My old photo was taken just a few days after I had graduated from college and the effects of an overly celebratory Senior Week seem to be written all over my face. (Not literally — I didn’t get any tattoos or wake up with permanent marker scrawlings or anything like that.) Something had happened to my former passport and I needed one pronto for my backpacking trip across Europe. So, the first morning I could I ran to get my photos taken and the result of bedhead plus no makeup plus extreme closeup equaled a terrible passport photo that I was stuck with for years to come. And what was I thinking wearing that ratty t-shirt?
When I got married a few years ago, I thought that I would also get to have a new passport photo since I was changing my name. But my hopes were soon dashed when I visited the post office. You send in your marriage certificate and your passport, but they don’t issue you a new one (or at least they didn’t in my case). They just make a few changes and send it back to you. Sigh.
So finally, nearly 10 years later, I get to take passport photos again. Since I wasn’t in huge hurry like last time, I made sure my hair looked good and I had on a little makeup. I went to CVS to have it done and they didn’t take it with one those huge machines that seem to be created to make people look awful, but with a regular digital camera. Luckily for me, the woman seemed to be enjoying doing it — after all taking pictures is more fun than ringing up purchases — and was determined to take a decent photo. And she did. I actually look well enough to travel.