For Swedish artist Fredrik Saker, the key to painting a realistic driver's license photo was in the details. The 29-year-old painter wanted to prove that he could create a meticulously crafted self-portrait that could pass as an actual photograph.
"I’ve always been a big fan of photorealistic painting," Saker told the Toronto Star. So when it was time for his driver's license to be renewed, Saker couldn't think of a better way to test himself.
After spending about 100 hours creating the portrait, Saker took a photo of it and then submitted the image to the Swedish Transport Board for approval. He was surprised to receive a license in the mail weeks later.
To prepare for the process, Saker studied the code of the Swedish Transport Board to ensure taking a photo of a self-portrait is not prohibited. He also reportedly made himself "look bad" so the license would appear to be "more real."
"I don't look good. My face is flushed and I am having a bad hair day," he told the BBC.
According to Dagens Nyheter, which first reported the story, the Transport Board compared Saker's photo to his previous driver's license. Peter Ranki, a spokesman for the Swedish Transport Board, explained that Saker's self-portrait "looks like a photograph, so we have not had any reason to question it.”
Although Ranki says the license can be used, he does not recommend that others try the artist's technique.
Despite the obstacles, Saker remains committed to his craft. "Now I am embarking on another eight to 10 similar paintings," he told the BBC. "I start shooting a couple of people in the next couple of weeks and we will soon be reapplying for licenses."