The one hour photo was up the street from my dorm room, so I threw on whatever clean clothes I could find and ran some gel through my hair. When I sat down to have my picture taken, I thought my smile and hairdo looked just fine.
I applied for my first ever passport in the spring of 2000. I had left the country as a child, but never across international borders, and with an upcoming trip planned to Mexico City and Oaxaca, Mexico, I scrambled to get my documentation.
That first passport – the one which granted me access to Greece, Ireland, Germany, Jamaica, Turkey, Italy, and the Czech Republic – officially expired , ending an era of international adventures that all usually began with a funny look from the border patrol agent. (“That’s you?” their looks would suggest.)
Yesterday, amidst a laundry list of errands, I found myself again scrambling to get my new passport portrait taken. I pulled into a Rite-Aid parking lot and prepped myself for the close up. With a five o’clock stubble and grubby t-shirt, I realized that even over time not much changes.
When I got home and examined the pictures, I couldn’t help but notice the physical changes. Seeing these differences struck a chord. Even though I know I’ve grown up and become an “adult”, I never saw myself as being so young in the first picture. The structure of my face being so different. Some of my baby-face gone completely.
It’s not often that I take self portraits, especially ones that represent and capture a specific (and identical?) moment in time. Stripped down against a white background and no distractions, passport photos reveal the true you.
When I look back on this picture (and when I renew it again in 10 years) I hope that I have a good laugh about my tan skin and flimsy t-shirt.