[Adjective; Noun; ~ Pronunciation: /krim-uh-nl/]
- Definition: Being forced to untie your hair, put it behind your ears, look straight into the camera lens and, above all, not smile. Especially remember that: never smile on the photo for any new legal document! They might think you’re actually a happy person, while governments everywhere just want to make you look like a criminal.
“Contrast is what makes photography interesting”
– Conrad Hall –
As I entered the Town Hall to get my licence prolonged, I briefly mentioned looking like a criminal in all my official pictures, after which the desk clerk laughed and started a chat:
Clerk: “Could I see your current driver’s licence for a moment, please?”
*Hands over driving licence*
*Clerk looks at document, back at me, and then back at the photo document in her hand with a dubious expression on her face*
Clerk: “Where you really eighteen in this picture? You look so much younger, I’d say you were sixteen!”
Me: “Actually, I was twenty then.”
Clerk: *gasps for air* “No way!”
Me: “I got my driving licence when I was twenty and had my picture taken especially for the document.”
*Clerk is silent for a moment, then takes a renewed peek at the new photo I gave her earlier*
Clerk: “You look like eighteen in this one.”
Clerk: “You know, if each time you prolong your licence (every ten years), you only look two years older, I think you’re a very lucky woman!”
*Another short silence*
Me: “I still look like a wanted criminal, though.”
Clerk: “Maybe, but a very young one, nevertheless.”
I am not really sure how Tyra Banks did it. She once told a story of how she got approached on a plane by a model scout and got asked for a photograph. She didn’t have one on her so she showed the man her passport and voila! She got hired.
I am so not going to pull that off with any of my official pictures.
Whenever I need to have my picture taken for any legal document, I feel like a criminal. I feel like this:
(Actually, that doesn’t even look too bad.)
I understand there are rules and regulations which are necessary in order to be able to quickly identify someone. I get it, it’s a passport or a driver’s licence or whatnot and you can’t possibly have a happy or goofy picture on it. That’s what Facebook is for. This is an official document and the least they ask for is an official (read: boring) picture of you.
Maybe this is done so it’s easier to scoop out the real criminals: they surely don’t look uncomfortable in their pictures at all, do they?
Whatever it is, I can only be happy and relieved both passports and driving licences won’t expire for ten years, strongly decreasing the amount of awkward, criminal-like pictures I’ll need to produce. Criminal-like and young pictures, obviously, because if I gain two photo-years for every ten years in real life, I’ll look like twenty by the time I am forty.
Which must be a crime in itself, surely?