Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cameras Steal Your Soul

This "author photo" thing has my head spinning. I have never liked any photo of myself (I often used the excuse "but everyone knows cameras steal your soul" to get out of taking photos), so I knew it was going to be hard. But it turned out to be more difficult than I had anticipated.

When taking a photo for your business card, you want to look the part: if you're a CPA, you want your business photo to look like you are a CPA; if you're a real estate broker, you want your business card photo to like you are a real estate broker. If you're a writer, you want your business photo to look like . . . what?  . . . Hemingway?

How on earth does one project the message "I am a writer" through a photo? With the other business cards, the message you want to send is pretty straightforward: I'm professional, reliable, diligent with your finances, you can trust me to find you a house, etc. But what message is a writer trying to send: "Hello. I'm really good at making up stuff"?

Maybe there is a way to "look author-ly;" perhaps stare into the distance pensively, as if mulling the meaning of life. Maybe break out a smoking jacket with leather patches on the elbows. How about a nice handcrafted pipe as a prop?

Even worse, my author picture had to project the image of a HORROR author. Now how does one manage that? I hung up my black lipstick years ago. I don't have anything pierced (even my ears are boring: each is only pierced once). Should I have perched a crow upon my shoulder? Held a bloody knife (I can see that going over REAL well on the Internet).

I finally gave up and just decided to look like me. What does a horror author look like? Like me, that's what.

I did decide that the black and white photos look a little more "author-ly" than the color ones. The color ones tend to look like they were taken in the backyard--which they were--while the black and white ones look more like they belong on a book jacket.

So what's your opinion on author photos? Have you seen an author photo that made you scratch your head and say, "THAT guy wrote this?" Or how about those of you who are authors--how did you do your author photo?

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