Rejected Identities

Dutch Doc Award 2010
Best Innovation & Experiment in Photography

Rejected identities focuses on the confrontation between personal identity and obligatory identification photography.

In the Netherlands an ID Photo has to meet 39 specific criteria. The work Rejected identities includes 39 ID photos of me along with these 39 criteria.

All of the 39 photos in this project were made in 2009 by photo studios, following the official rules. At the same time I secretly tried to violate the rules, while sitting in front of the camera.
Subsequently each resulting photo was inspected by the Dutch government.

20 of the 39 ID photos were rejected.

This project questions the mechanical character of the Dutch ID Photo system. This system is, since World War II, an example in the world where it comes to thoroughness and efficiency.

40 perspex plates, 40 A4 sheets of paper, 39 identity pictures, 2009

Exhibition view at C/O Berlin, 2012: 40 plates with 39 criteria and 39 ID photos

Exhibition view (detail) at C/O Berlin, 2012

1. Passport photo dimensions: 35 mm x 45 mm

2. Width: from ear to ear, between 16 mm and 20 mm

3. Height: from chin to crown, between 19 and 30 mm

4. In colour

5. A true likeness

6. Natural representation

7. In focus, sufficient contrast, discernible fine facial features

8. Undamaged

9. Not a reproduction (copy)

10. Not manipulated

11. Printed on high-quality, smooth photo paper

12. Minimum 400 dpi resolution

13. Light grey, pale blue, or white background

14. Uniformly lit background

15. Background of one colour only

16. No merging of colours

17. Sufficient contrast between head and background

18. Head uncovered

19. Face entirely visible

20. Eyes entirely visible

21. Head facing forward

22. Eyes on a horizontal line

23. Head not tilted to one side

24. Shoulders straight

25. No visible support

26. Neutral facial expression

27. Looking straight at the camera

28. Mouth closed

29. Eyes entirely visible

30. Fully transparent lenses of eyeglasses

31. No distortion caused by reflection from eyeglasses

32. No shadow caused by eyeglasses

33. Uniformly lit

34. Not overexposed or underexposed

35. No shadow on the face or the background

36. No reflection on the face

37. No reflection caused by accessories

38. Head fully visible

39. Head centered

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