In the frame

Quirky snaps reveal whats going on off-camera in passport photos

No smiling please Henry and Hetty Hoover: one of Max Siedentopf's cheeky portraits © Courtesy the artist and Wellcome photography prize

Who actually likes their passport photo? Everyone dreads revealing their ten-year old pudding haircut (and more youthful features), while the stringent conditions for taking the pics (“No smile and mouth closed”) are terrifying. “It seems almost impossible for any kind of self-expression,” says the German-Namibian artist Max Siedentopf who has duly turned this dreary genre on its head with a series of quirky snaps that imagine what some passport picture people are doing off camera. In the online series, one participant has attached hoover hoses to his nipples while another stands in a dustbin (who knows what goes on in those photo booths).

Appeared in The Art Newspaper, 315 September 2019