Sunday, July 6, 2008

Glamour Shots in Kurdistan

I'll be leaving Kurdistan in about 2 weeks to head back to Amman and eventually Portland, so I decided to take care of some logistics today - booking my flight, making sure everything is in line for my departure. Turns out, I need to apply for an Iraqi (expat) registration card because I've been in Iraq too long for a visitors visa. In order to acquire said registration card, I need to provide a copy of my passport, a few visa photos and a pint of blood. Well, not a pint, but I need to get an AIDS test. Good thing I asked about the procedures today, and not the day before I left...

Anyway, I think the blood test will be tomorrow, but I took care of the photos today. Overall, I suppose I'm about as vain as the average American woman when it comes to official document photos. Meaning, if I'm going to be forced to look at it for the next decade, I'd prefer a good picture, but overall I just don't care that much. So, one of the drivers and I drove over to the local photo shop to get some photos - no bigee. When I walked into the photo shop I was immediately surrounded by pictures of two and three-year-olds wearing bizarre outfits with non-matching backgrounds. For example, a two year old girl wearing a head headscarf with gold coins dangling from the edges framing her chubby face with a fanciful forest scene in the background. Now, I was just in for passport photos, but its enough to make even the least vain person worry...

So, with some trepidation I was escorted downstairs to the photo room. The photographer offered me a mirror to adjust my appearance, and seemed shocked when I passed on his offer. So, he sat me down, adjusted his lighting in a very precise manner, adjusted the angle of the photo and took his picture.

Okay, done - right?

Not at all. Next came 15 minutes of airbrushing and photoshopping the pic. I was guided to a seat next to the photographer, hereafter refered to as 'The Arteest' while he removed every freckle, blemish and wrinkle he could find. He even photoshopped out my dimple. Ok, ok, it's a chicken pox scar, but it looks like a dimple... The best part was when he decided he liked my left eye more than my right eye, so he copied and pasted over the offending eye. Then he reversed the eye so that it was shaped the right way. At this point, I had the opportunity to see what i would would like if I was cross-eyed.

The Arteest was amazingly quick with his adjustments. Meanwhile, the driver joined us and was giving advice on how much to lighten the color of my eyes, etc... At the end, the Arteest showed me the before and after pics. Horrifying. I'm never going outside without airbrushing again. The driver insisted that I get 4x6 pics for my family, so that they could see just how pretty I can be...

Stay tuned - stories about blood testing in Kurdistan will soon follow.

3 comments:

Marcy / مارسي said...

it's not really fair to go into this intense description of the photograph and not post one up for us all to see...

Rizza said...

Is that even legal for a passport pic and, I guess, it doesn't matter?! I agree with Marcy post it.

Abdulla said...

Happy birthday. see you soon. cant wait to see the pictures of your trip. did you see Emiti Maha?