Interview with Ellen Nakaumra

Here’s an interview I did with a friend from university, Ellen. It’s to help those in their final years of high school determine what they want to do next, and gives them a bit of insight into a Communication Design course, what Ellen is enrolled in.

Also, yesterday I got told I had light brown hair. I’ve had many-a-different hair colour descriptions over the years from red, to blonde, to strawberry blonde, then I dyed parts of it pink, light blue and bright red. But never have I thought of myself as brown-haired girl. The man then proceeded to ask me what colour my eyes were, and completed his visual assessment of me. But why did he take the opportunity to ask me about my eye colour, while assuming his perception of my hair colour was as accurate as any?

I’m not bothered, just intrigued. How do we assess people, what purpose does it have and who is to say what is accurate? All these qualifications, colour-codes, dissections in society… does it really matter what colour hair I have? Even with identification passes such as passports, drivers licenses, student identification cards… what happens if I dye my hair? It’s so common these days, no wonder fake IDs are so widely used and accepted these days. People can have a blonde fringe in their photo and then have a middle part and dyed black hair when arriving at a club. Now there are even cosmetic eye contacts, so the one remaining stabiliser of identity has been pushed out the window, as well.

Whatever reasons people have for changing their appearance, how accurately a single picture can describe or identify them is surely diminishing. Then there are debates about whether headscarves and other religious attire are hiding one’s true identity… I’d say a girl with blue contacts, peroxide hair and caked on make up looks more significantly different from her identification photo (brown hair, hazel eyes, minimal make up) than a woman wearing a hijab would, for instance, without her religious attire.

Thoughts continue but this post will subside. What do you think of photo identification systems?

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