Saturday, January 17, 2009

Author Photos Revisited

Further to my post of a couple of days ago on author photos, here’s Chris Hamilton-Emery with Salt guidelines, official or otherwise, on 10 Ways to Take a Bad Author Photo.

These tips are invaluable for anyone wanting to have a bad author photo. Such gems as:

If the passport photos are unavailable, wedding photos make great author photos, especially where you feature in the background in a crowd of revellers dancing the conga. Or shots at an office party, where Gwen had her jacquard tights on and you have your arm around her thighs.

But there are plenty more vital, inspirational nuggets of wisdom at the link.

(I should add that the image of me in this post is NOT a photo I submitted to Salt! But I think it's a useful illustration for some sections of the advice.)


Background Artist said...

Herolewa was the word verification when I was going to post this on the post from a few days back, suggestive of saying hello, and fortifying an intuitive state that screams of just flippin doing it. Leaving a comment. But then, I came here and gastry is the WV, and I am betting by the time I finish this, a third one will appear, and in the spirit of predicting the future of what the net-machine may randomly spam up, I will guess it is (not going to be) sklryu, which I typed without thinking, for an exercise in extemporisation.

Posed photos, some are just crap at it, like our Babara says, and my mug always looks very dodgy whenever consciously trying to concot au natural pour le camera.

So imagine my surprise, when I forst saw myself ion youtube after getting filmed by Paul Casey from O Bheal in Cork, in Kiltimagh, reading at the slam of the In Sight of Raftery festival. Itself a supremely comedic pun, as Raftery was the famous blind Mayo poet who wandered around the West of Ireland, seeking out any poets he had heard of on his travels, demanding they compete with him.

Twenty minutes after being filmed, I weas totally locked and from this point on, it was lights out. I came to in a field, the first sunny morning of the year, half my my face burnt to a crisp and vaugue memories of being in a near heckling state. That pit of the stomach feeling when you know you have made a totally bad impression and disgraced yourself in front of colleagues and just pray you didn't say anything too appalliing to the organisers.

It was the final afternoon of the festival, and I had only come down the previous night, so feeling very stupid, limped back to Dublin on the first bus out of town, got home and felt incredibly depressed anyway because of the effects of the booze, compounded by knowing I had blown it socially to the right thinking drinkers unfortunate enough to witness my idiocy.

Casey put the vids up a few days later, and when I saw myself, thought, hold on, that's not me, I don't look like that. It is a well known fact I and the camera just do not get on. Due to a trick of light in the place, and a host of other lucky factors, all that was left as an artefact of my existence on the night, was a three minute video of me reading. The first time in seven years of bluffing, that I had ever seen myself reading, as others do.

I cheered right up and started to inwardly laugh at the million to one fixtures and forces that brought this about. Anyone there I had offended when drunk, who saw the vid and knew the truth that I was just a messer, would be muttering at the screen that this was a gross misrepresentation of the facts - I thought, but still, it was clear to even myself on watching it, that real or not, it gave the impression of someone either genuinely in thrall of what I was doing, the poem itself, or (probably closer to the truth) that what the viewer was mistaking as the genuine connection, was me metaphorically at 11.59 desperately trying to read without betraying my bladdered state, and 20 minutes later, tipping over to 12 O'Clock and collapsing into the total incoherence of a hardened street drinker.

I learned that by being as a far away from consciousness of the camera, was my best bet at disguising the truth of how I really look, which is mostly ropey.

arghhh, I don't belive it, flippin heck, the WV is sklryu, as I predicted.

Now that is spooky.

ha ha, fooled yer, its still gastry, gas try, and I bet it goes to cenroe, which I created even more randomly, not even looking at the pad. Just sort of cast my hand forward and went, vvwhere. A little flick, just like that tommy cooper used to do.

And now, I will find out if I am a magician or not.


oussi - I scored 40%, the S. failed, again. It's your fault Macca, your fault I'm not sending my photie to Chris now. It should be my book he's publishing, not yours. You nicked my rightful slot, by psychologically forcing Chris to pick you, over me, and not even be aware of it, because you are practicing mind control on - not only Chris, but everyone on the planet, and even me, who is gonna buy your book, because you have embedded some diabolical pshycological software into my comouter screen. Seriously, pack it in!!!
I'm made up for yer, dead happy, really pleased (grr) honest. I hope you sell the most, just to see how the rest react. ha ha, begruding, innit great?

I will understand if this gets chopped, but good luck anyway, yer jammy git.

ádh mór ort

deemikay said...

It is indeed a fine post. I giggled at several points.

And I know I seemed to be slightly dismissive of author photos, but that's my inbuilt Devil's Advocatism coming out. But I'm as nosy as the next person, I admit. And I have hunted down images of writers I've never seen before.

And to make up for some slight negativity... if anyone would like some photos taken for "author photo" purposes, I'm willing to offer my services. Free of charge as well. :) The only restriction would be how easy it would be for me to get to take the pics - west of Scotland, Glasgow area suits me best. I'd find the experience quite interesting...

As I said, a serious and free offer. See some examples of my photos here.

Rob said...

Very generous offer, David! Hope someone takes you up on it.

deemikay said...

No takers as yet... but spread the word if you want!