Max Siedentopf's (not so) valid photos

These are all the wild things you could be doing while taking your official passport photo

The guidelines for official passport photography are some of the most stringent out there. It must be: in color, with your head taking up 70-80% of the frame; there should be no shadows on your face, or on the background; you should be looking directly at the camera, without glasses, with your eyes open and visible; and finally, you cannot smile. But outside of the 2×2 inch square frame, can you imagine anything else going on outside? Artist Max Siedentopf has dreamed up some amusing options…


For the series passport photos, Siedentopf reimagines one of the most mundane and unexciting types of photography through a humorous lens. The criteria for passport photos, Siedentopf says, ‘seem almost impossible for any kind of self-expression’. With this in mind, the artist challenges these official rules by imagining all the things you could be doing while taking your official document photo. Moving outside of the square boundaries, the series shows subjects taped to the wall, precariously balancing several wine glasses on their arms, doing a split between two chairs, and otherwise participating in some zany venture.