One of the things I don't miss about performing was having to get head shots. The whole problem with getting a photograph taken of yourself is that you have to confront the differences between what you THINK you look like, what you SEE in the mirror and what DEVELOPS on film. Wow, talk about a disparity.Last week I had some photos taken for my website and author photo and had the joy of facing myself in over 50 different shots. It was daunting.
Like the five stages of grief, looking at photographs of myself is a multi-step process which starts with shock and horror. Thoughts of "Oh my god, do I really look like that?" progress to, "this one isn't so bad," then evolve to, "I hate my teeth," and finally end with, "there are a few here I like."
What makes it even harder is when you seek counsel from friends and family and they pick their favorite shots (none of which were the ones I picked by the way) and say things like, "you look great in this picture" and then you look at it and think, "I look like I'm a hundred years old." I wonder how what I like could be so different from what they like and who should I trust more?
I realize that most people don't like looking at themselves and many, like me, think it is as bad, if not worse than trying on bathing suits after stuffing your face at the food court. I guess it's a testament to our eternal optimism that we always think we look better than it turns out we actually do.
Or do we?
Of all the wishes I could ever be granted...I am certain the one I would like the most would be to have the chance to see myself through the eyes of someone who loves me. Why? Well, I would like to see what they see when they look at me. It would be extremely illuminating. You know that chin you hate? They might think it's cute. The nose you think is too small may be your best feature to your best friend. And that laugh that everyone is always telling you is infectious, well you would get infected by it too!
It would be good every now and then to get out of your head and into one of someone who knows you and loves you. What would be even better would be to have a camera capture what they see so I could remember it forever.
And yes, that would be the ultimate author photo.
Until then, I picked these two, which I ended up being pretty happy with.