Today I went and had a passport picture taken.

Holly passport photo



Because the camera at our local post office has been out of order for years, we stopped by a nearby CVS drug store to complete the photo step of the passport renewal process.   It was then that I realized what a difference 13 years makes in technology.

Last time I got my passport picture taken it was 1997.  My husband  and I had been married for 6 years and we were really excited to be taking a trip to London.   I had never traveled out of the US and was in need of my first passport.

We went to a local photography studio to get the necessary pictures.

Before digital photography.

I distinctly remember that they were $20 and once taken they ‘magically’ appeared in 20 minutes…20 minutes was almost instant in 1997.

So, I posed in front of white background wearing my favorite plaid shirt buttoned up to the very top button (I can promise you that I was wearing it with my favorite pleated jeans and faux-crocodile ankle boots because I was hawt like that).

1, 2, 3….


I paid the $20 during the wait for the final product.

Meanwhile we basked in the bright light of 20 minute film development.

1997 was super modern.

The photographer handed me my photos in a cute little passport-like folder and I opened them up and gasped.

In horror.

I couldn’t be seen in OTHER countries in a photo like that.

I was hideous.

The problem was that it was 1997.   A re-take was $20 and 20 more minutes.

$20 and 20 more minutes that we didn’t have.

I swallowed my pride and decided it wasn’t that big of a deal.   We went directly to the post office and applied for the passport.   A month later when it arrived in the mail I cringed and vowed not to open it up unless asked by a uniformed agent.

It turns out that the London trip was the only trip in which a passport was needed over the following 13 years.

And so today, the CVS employee took my picture with her hand-held digital camera and turned it around to give me a look.   I shook my head and said, “Can you please take another one?”

Just because it was digital.

Just because I could.

Just because I didn’t want to spend the next 13 years looking like this:

passport photo bad of Holly

It really makes me wonder if   the reason we didn’t travel in the last 13 years was embarrassment.

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  1. In all honesty- I have not laughed that hard at a blog post in YEARS. I was reading it and thinking, well of course she won’t show us the bad pic, we will just have to assume, but it would be funny if…..(scroll down) and BAM! Comedy.

    I am so glad you are no longer a plaid wearing stoner Holly.


  2. LOL! My mom just sent me some of my teen years in the late 80”s photos and the HAIR… and the glasses that nearly covered my entire face. Flashbacks are great:) Wonderful post.

  3. Oh no, no, no
    I’ve been happy-ish with my passport photo for the last 10 years but my new one is pure horror. For me 2011 has brought torture – no glasses, push fringe back from your eyebrows, no hair in front of ears; result: shocked moon face – there’s no chance I’ll ever be allowed in a country with taste. And now you’ve scared me, will I be to embarrassed to travel? Aarrgghh


  4. Seriously funny. That is an awesome picture and so 1997, too. I just had to have my passport picture retaken and the thing that made me the saddest was that I was simply 10 years older. How does time pass by that fast? I’ll be going to London in a few weeks so I’ll ask if they remember you. 🙂

  5. Ha! In my passport photo, I look scared to death. Don’t know why. I was trying to go for slim and sophisticated 😉