This Photographer’s Passport Photo Shoots Are… Different

Photographer Max Siedentopf has a new project that examines one of the most boring types of photography: the passport photo. The series shows that even though passport photos need to be boring, the photo shoots themselves don’t.

Official passport photo requirements are extremely restrictive and specify the exact framing (centered with the subject facing straight on), lighting (a clear background with no shadow), and facial expression (no smiling).

“It seems almost impossible for any kind of self-expression,” Siedentopf says. His project, titled Passport Photos, “tries to challenge these official rules by testing all the things you could be doing while you are taking your official document photo.”

And indeed, there are a lot of things you could be doing…

Siedentopf actually didn’t tell his subjects that the photo shoot they were agreeing to was anything other than an ordinary passport shoot.

“They thought they were just there to take a normal passport photo,” Siedentopf tells Fast Company. “Some were pleasantly surprised, some slightly confused, and a few were left very disturbed.”

You can find more of Siedentopf’s work on his website.