I am going to be writing a human interest column for Arbus Magazine. The inaugural article will be in Arbus’s March/April issue, and I am excited about the opportunity. When I submitted my article, my only concern was that I didn’t have an appropriate photograph to send with my bio.
You’ve seen the photos of me on this blog, always sporting sunglasses, or a moose antler headband, or a hatchet, or so far in the distance I am a blot on an otherwise pristine landscape. In older photos, there is an omnipresent glass of wine, or I’m cuddling a stranger with a drunken leer. Not appropriate for the “Contributors” section of an important magazine.
For some reason (learning differences, vanity, OCD?) I can never choose a good photo from a proof sheet. I am hamstrung by what should be the perfect likeness of me, and I have never had a proper head shot for promotional purposes.
I sent a copy of the photo on the banner of this blog to Arbus, and got back a message from the editor that said, “I received the following photo…but it’s all blown out. It looks like they put a wig on you.”
Back to the drawing board.
For Christmas, I got selfie-taking gear from both Kim and George. They are encouraging me to begin a video section to the blog and they also know that most of my interesting experiences take place when I am alone. I now have a small tripod with a phone hookup; an expandable stick with a padded cassette to tuck my phone into; and a large tripod with brackets, a docking station for my phone and adjustable legs, that looks like something David Bailey would have an assistant carry…
I cuted myself up, found a nook in the cabin that had the perfect lighting, got out my selfie gear and completely lost my mind. Hundreds of identical photos later, I was stymied by the imperfections in my face. A jowl here, a wrinkle there, I found the ideal “side” for me was turned slightly to the right, chin down and eyes looking limpidly left, a strand of hair strategically over my jaw line and a non-smiling, but somehow kindly pout.
Too cutesy, too low, too scowly, too smug, too much chin, too droll, too close, too light, too mean, too much face, way too close, too washed out, not too bad, way too much face, too droopy eyed, too I just hate it, hair too mussed, too noire, too black and white, too Michael Jackson…
As I reviewed my photographs, I started stressing about my skin tone and the distinct pimple on my chin. I changed the setting to black and white and went to the internet, intent on buying a photo editing software program. I wanted to airbrush out everything but my eyeballs, nostrils and hair (kind of like the new Madonna, Louis Vuitton ads).
I finally got an image I liked and sent it to the magazine. The editor responded with a cryptic, “Too small.” All that work for naught. Then I tried some with my hand on my chin, from high above like they show you how to do it on style blogs, and finally I got the neighbor to take some “woman of letters” shots in front of the fireplace I’m too embarrassed to even show you…