Many recently closed borders around the world are suddenly opening and the kind of people who like to cross them for fun are ready. The number of travelers passing through U.S. security checkpoints each day is now closer in the booming days of 2019 than the little trickle that was being tapped and scanned a year ago.
This means that many people are looking at the expiration dates on their dusty passports for the first time in some time, and perhaps find a nasty surprise: it’s time to renew. Noooo!
All photos are loaded, but the passport photo – an image through which you interact with authorities, borders, and your own citizenship – is particularly electric. He is also generally, and notoriously, unflattering.
Rimowa, the very expensive German luggage brand currently owned by French luxury group LVMH, promises to change all that – for free. A new sign in the Prince Street store window in SoHo will invite you to what it describes as a ‘elevated’ and ‘reinvented’ passport photography experience. No appointment necessary!
Inside, use the photo booth hidden just behind a lone metal pillar. Please New Yorkers and tourists alike don’t use this rare and tiny haven for sex, drugs, or defecation.
If you slide around this metal pillar in the sleek little white capsule of a photo booth, you’ll find yourself in front of a screen that shows where your eyes (and, of course, the friend of your eyes, the skull) should be. . You have an eight countdown to pull yourself together.
The cabin is small and bathed in shadowless white light. It will remove all imperfections and immerse you in a cold German atmosphere: a true Juergen Teller experience.
The “photograph” (technically this can be a representation of a photograph? A machine-assisted selfie?) Will be shown to you on a screen. You can take it as many times as you want until you are satisfied or start to hate yourself.
You can then print it out and email it to yourself.
Why this expensive retail real estate full of equally expensive suitcases make this gift for you? Perhaps because, by availing the offer, you are also potentially opting for the Rimowa email marketing ecosystem. And maybe because, if you feel beautiful and sophisticated enough now, later, when time and fortune have smiled on you and your business and / or marriage prospects, you too will be ready for a trolley. which costs $ 1,710.
If you stop to browse, you’ll notice that Rimowa luggage is identifiable by its distinctive edges, like a Ruffles Sour Cream & Onion flavor chip. Although traditionally shot by people wearing cashmere or dead animals, it is now more likely to be worn by people who look fairly normal except they have polished skin and Lanvin sneakers they- even notable for their chic ugliness and inexplicably expensive cost.
(Of course, if the Rimowa case is the 2018 transparent collaboration Virgil Abloh, Which one is really wonderful, it’s more likely to be worn by people who don’t mind passers-by seeing all of their shoes, at least the ones they chose to pack.)
“You are traveling soon and your passport has expired and you have to go take a picture. I think it’s a very unpleasant experience, ”said Emelie De Vitis, Marketing Director of Rimowa. “It doesn’t matter what country you’re based in. »Hence the photo booth, to make your trip easier.
But first, a few caveats:
You should know that the current government of the United States (it continues!) warns that standard passport processing can take three months; for $ 60, you can speed up the service and get it in just four to six weeks.
Do not be too long. You won’t be alone. In its fiscal year 2020, the State Department “earned and retained” $ 3.7 billion in “new user fee revenue” from passports and visas, granting nearly 12 million passports and cards passport. A great government indeed.
Also this photo is really adapted to American uses. Different countries have different requirements. UK passport photos must also include your upper body; India insists on both ears – and you cannot smile, frown or raise your eyebrows in the photo.
Speaking of your face, you should also be warned not to get too wacky in the Rimowa photo booth. Unlike the 50 shades of Rihanna’s Fenty Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, another product associated with LVMH, your range of facial expressions is limited here.
Rimowa could warn visitors that a face in a US passport photo must transmit “a neutral expression or a natural smile,” according to the US government.
Once you start to wonder if your smile is “natural,” you might be having a hard time.
For example, if you know what the term “masking” means (it’s the artistic term, popular especially with some autistic people, for the act of portraying expected or socially sanctioned behavior), you can leave the booth an bit of a fit.
The State Department explains a little more. “Can I smile on my passport photo?” Asks the State Department on its website. Then he replies, “Yes, but it must be a natural smile and not exaggerated. “
In 2018, the State Department tweeted an allegedly useful photo as an example. However, the photo showed a man with an expression so hard to classify that no one in 20 would describe him in the same way. After a few studies, we could say that he is smiling or smirking in some other way with his eyes while doing something more cranky, or even invoking disdain, with the lower half of his face.
Anyway! After struggling with the artifice of my own identity, I chose not to smile at all. After carefully reading my photo, it seemed to me that my frown lines were mostly gone. I look young, pale, like a flattering computer-generated portrait of an aging hipster. He would look perfectly fine when flashed upon arriving in Leipzig, Germany.