Well, crap.

Apparently I need to submit a hi-rez author photo to the Hugo committee for the ceremony, where I guess they flash all our photos on a wall or something.

This is kind of a problem.

There’s a reason I use the painting my mother did of me as my author bio. I look like a tattooed hippopotamus to the camera. (I am reliably informed that I am rather less so in person, because I am extremely animated most of the time, but you freeze frame that sucker and the results Do Not Flatter.)

The only really good photo of me ever taken was about an inch high and Kevin got it on his cel phone at a Mexican restaurant. There’s an adequate one that a friend took ages past, which is what Penguin uses, which I suppose I will wind up using, as they want it by Saturday and I have no real chance of setting up a pro photo shoot by then.  (And YES, I have been thinking for months I need to find someone to take some pro shots of me and get the bloody thing done so I’ve got something flattering to use for the book jackets, but I didn’t and now I pay the price and Kevin says I’m not allowed to turn down the nomination because they want a photo.)




ETA: Let me add that this isn’t a body image issue, per se—I gots no problem with mirrors. I pass them and go “Awwwww, yeah!” as often as not.  I’m not a small mammal by any stretch, but large chunks of me are built like the proverbial brick dollhouse, and I’m not complaining.

Sadly lots of things that are fine on a moving, gesticulating individual go really bad if you take a photo under all but the most aggressively controlled lighting.

8 thoughts on “Well, crap.

  1. The Gecko says:

    You’ll probably be fine with a pro photo, or a semi-pro approximation.


    If you can’t get anything pro done on a reasonable time frame, can you go semi-pro? A lot of the difference is probably in the lighting, alone.

    A lot of point-and-shoot, off-the-cuff, on-the-spot photos have terrible lighting – especially the kind with the dinky little directional forward flashes that are right in line with the lens. Your house probably has terrible lighting as far as photography is concerned; I make no judgements regarding your interior decorating – I value my well-being! Just getting a photo stage set up with off-axis flashes and diffusers might make a world of difference. While pros will certainly have this equipment, it’s certainly not limited to them. Hell, your local el-cheapo department store photography should have a rig like this, and might be able to pull off something passable. Not pro photo shoot quality, but passable.

    Or maybe not, but you always have the fallback photo from your friend if all else fails, right?

  2. admin says:

    Heh. Kevin’s found a friend who may be able to help. But yeah, I think it’s the lighting that’s killing me–I have a hard enough time photographing a completely flat canvas, lord knows why I expect human topography to look good.

  3. Suzanne says:

    ha – I am EXACTLY the same. I look in the mirror and think I look great…then I see a photo and I want to weep. Good luck, I can think of nothing worse than a professional photo shoot.

  4. Tom West says:

    At least with photoing a flat canvas it’s supposed to look flat… the human face is not, which is why flattening flashes aren’t flattering – in fact they look weird at some subliminal level our brain can’t quite cope with.

    (It’s not just photography – sometimes I feel 90% of stage lighting is about making actors’ expressions visible from 100ft away)

  5. Tom West says:

    Also, I sympathise – I don’t photo well either because I think too hard about my facial expression. This lead to my wife taking photos of me while I was asleep to a get a ‘natural’ look. (DON’T do this for the Hugos… or maybe you should, if all else fails).

  6. Tanit-Isis says:

    I agree with the pro or semi-pro idea—a good photoshoot can make anyone look awesome*. Well, at least in the three shots out of the 200 that turn out (but that’s true of all photo shoots). I also recommend practicing faces and poses, but part of what a good photographer does is make you feel comfortable so you don’t freeze up.

    … alternatively, I generally prefer photos I’ve taken myself with a self-timer, because I’m more relaxed and feel more free to be goofy or weird. And I’ve figured out how to do the three poses/faces that actually look cute, most of the time. (See above about practicing :P)

    *And while I’ve never met you, I’m pretty sure you’re awesome to begin with.

  7. kettlesmith says:

    My face gets very round in photos. Of course, it gets worse in allergy season. Damn you sinuses! I always state that cameras are picking up my Buddha nature. But supposedly, that’s just to my eyes, as other people have told me that the photos are the way I look.

  8. Al the K says:

    Nowhere within these pages have we read about your Hugo nomination AFAIK. This Is A Big Thing and even here you talk about it sideways. (Okay, so it’s noted on the Digger site). Talk about hiding your light under a bushel basket!

    Congratulations to you and Digger!! I suppose in deference to Digger, we do a sedate pavane to celebrate instead of the Lindy Hop.

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