20 September 2012

My Children are Thugs

Or, at least they look like thugs:

I don't even recognize these little truants.

See how cute they were last time we did this:

Thanks a lot, Visa photos.

We take "passport-sized" photographs often.  It seems that everywhere you go in this country (and many others), someone is asking for a "passport-sized" photograph - or ten.  Every chance they get, forms have a little box stating, "Picture Required."

It's a national obsession.  Visa paperwork requires several sets, of course.  Schools all want six copies.  The cable TV people would like your face to be glued to their registration form. 

Basically, everyone should carry around a dozen or so "passport-sized" photos at all times, just in case.  I half-expect the grocery store to ask me to ante up next time I buy toothpaste.

Around town, there are little booths offering to take your passport photos.  These booths are the key to having any sort of document accepted for consideration - so they have a good thing going.  Almost as good as the "Photo Minute" guys who hang around concerts and other events, ready to capture your fun and print it out for 2500 FC.  Kind of like this:

So far, I haven't tried out the passport photo booths.  Next week, maybe.  Instead, we just take the photos ourselves.  There are explicit instructions on travel.state.gov and those are the ones I tend to follow when DIYing "passport-sized" photos.  I haven't had anything rejected yet.  Unlike this guy.  The process is less than fun.  Children hate standing still against a white background and not smiling.  I have determined this after hours of intensive research.  Lou looks so disheveled in the above picture because getting that semi-acceptable photo took four adults, hair-pulling, and sweat.  I think next time, I'm going to take the government's suggestion and strap her in a sheet-covered carseat in order to take the photo.

My favorite passport photos, however, are baby passport photos.  Cannot get enough:

In this picture, I was balancing Lou in front of a white sheet, praying her newly-acquired neck strength would hold out for the duration of the shoot.  Wow.

Also - this exercise in passport photo examination is making me wonder what Africa has done to Johan and I:

I feel that either expat life or florescent lighting has caused aging in the past year.  Huh.

Ah well.  It's a fact of life that my family will be periodically captured in unsmiling, 2x2 form.  All over Kinshasa, there are thousands of similar faces sticking to papers, paperclipped to applications, hiding in envelopes, and printing off in street side photo booths.  Kind of ethereal, kind of creepy.


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