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Understanding Rules

Hukeng: motorbike driver

It took three year’s to fill 48 page passport, and three working days to apply for a replacement.

Despite the proximity of an automatic passport photo booth to the British embassy in Tokyo – applicants are directed to a human mediated studio with a “he knows how to take them just right”. The rules for what make an acceptable photo have tightened up and what was once OK, no longer is. Thought for today: the extent that higher quality and more prevalent tools to re-produce stuff – from photo printers to 3D copiers, leads to changes in the rules for acceptable submissions – like sand dunes rolling in parallel across a desert.

Neighbourhood photos studios are window’s to the community: from the photo booth without a camera in Brazil; photo enhancement services in Ho Chi Minh City; the aspirational nature of the backdrops in Lhasa and New Orleans night club.

And the gent in a wicker basket/helmet? Last year’s motorbike driver taking me to his favoured photo studio in Fujian Province.

Service designer’s out there might like the guidelines for submitting appropriate photos presumably based on tens of thousands of inappropriate submissions. Photos should be: not to close; too far; mustn’t show another person; have a busy background – think flock wallpaper; be to blurry or too light; have shadows across the face; be looking away; portrait style – body at 45degrees, face looking at camera; mouth open; hair across eyes; frames covering eyes; dark tinted glasses; wearing a hat; face covered. Download the full guidelines for applicants and guidelines for photo studios.