Victoria Jelinek


The Baby Diaries 15
November 4, 2013, 9:17 am
Filed under: The Baby Diaries | Tags: , , , , , , ,

There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo. Erma Bombeck

lego cameraIt’s time to get my son his Danish passport. The American one will be a bit delayed given the dossier I must prepare first, but I’ll tell you about that later.

First we must get a passport photo. One that manages to capture his full face and both ears. Sound easy? Not on a six-month-old who moves constantly – involuntarily and voluntarily. Moreover, there are no “Snappy Snaps” shops or quick photo shops in our provincial French town that are familiar with various countries’ diameters and take photos all day for passports. In fact, there is one shop in town that touts its abilities to do passport photos but which is not a photo shop.

So, my husband, young son and I set out for the store, having carefully printed the specifications for the shop assistant. She was very sweet and helpful, but not competent in photography. There was a tiny little room at the back of the store in which to take the picture. With my husband, me, the baby, and the shop assistant in there, we were literally cheek-to-cheek. We laid the boy on the floor, as he’s unable to sit up completely by himself. I tried to keep his head straight so that she could get a full frontal, but of course my fingers couldn’t be in the picture so his head would only stay direct for a moment or two once I removed my hands. The shop assistant repeatedly tried to get my son’s full face, with both ears showing, and his eyes open (thank god for digital) but she’d fuss with the focus for so long between each-and-every shot, that just at the moment she’d take the picture, he’d move. Very exasperating. Additionally, she had to go and serve clients of the gift shop when they came in. After thirty minutes or so of this (consider that time with an infant is like the Bermuda Triangle in which things seem way longer than they actually are, and we were in a room the size of a small closet), we chose the photo most likely to work for the Danish authorities and she assured us she’d print them and cut them to specifications and have them ready after we went for a coffee.

When we returned, she’d put the four photos in a nice little envelope ready to go. We took them and left, thinking all was well, we’d seen the photos already, but then discovered a major error as soon as we got home. The photos were 4”x4” and even at this grand size, they were literally filled with our boys face. No distance or perspective. No space around his face. No full face with ears in view. Just our boys face filling out the entire, huge photo. A passport page is smaller than one of these photos. We went back the next day and went through the whole palarva again, and again there were no useable photos, but she did manage to cut the ones that might work down to a passport-sized photo. To be on the safe side, we opted to go to a little photo shop similar to “Snappie Snaps,” just outside the Danish Embassy in Lyon. We literally plopped our son on a seat with no back, and the guy took a picture before I’d even wiped my brow, and it was perfect! Wow. Guess there is something to specialising and, after repetitive action, getting your endeavours right. Now just to get the passports for him…

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