26 October 2005

the professional photo

so the tour company that employs me to chat about Indian art in front of the monuments in India to paying tourists, a wonderful gig and one that allows me to stay in five-star hotels, meet interesting people, and teach the art to people who want to learn, has asked me for a picture of myself for their website. If you go there, you'll note that other scholars have their pictures up, usually in front of some sort of ruin or jungly landscape, and they are all distinguished. The distinguished quality comes from, in large part, age, although having not met them I imagine they are indeed distinguished. I have no such photos. It's not particularly that I find myself unphotogenic (which I don't think my blogging friend is either), but it's that photos of me tend to be taken in fairly casual circumstances (I suppose this is true for everyone) in which I tend to look a bit too ridiculous and certainly not in any way distinguished. Here are my choices:

There's quite a nice photo of me in faux-feather boa and blinking magnetic earrings from Christmas several years ago. I of course have not showered and thus the hair is questionable. But I look quite good, all things considered. Probably not the one to submit.

There's the photo on my birthday from some years back in which I am wearing a Barry Manilow tour baseball cap. I look fab, but frankly the hat does detract from my professorial persona.

There's the one where I'm in the kitchen at Thanksgiving making faces at the camera in my kitchen...

There's the one from Japan that a colleague took, so great on exotic locale (although wrong exotic locale, as it turns out) but not so great on me, as it's hot as hades (Japan in July, very fun) and I'm clearly exhausted.

There's the one from Seattle when we visited back in 2001, where I'm pretending to be intense urban hipster in coffee shop. I no longer wear glasses, so that element is no longer accurate, and it's more intense/scary than distinguished/impressive. Seattle also not so exotic.

I have drawn several conclusions from this survey of my iPhoto library:
  • I am invariably either (a) unshowered or (b) in a reclining position or sometimes both
  • I am rarely photographed on my own, whether it's with dog, human, or vehicle
  • My silly-face quotient is high in photos in which I am on my own
  • and perhaps the most telling observation: I look younger now than I did 5 years ago.
The last one I can thank my genes for (specifically Mom—thanks Mom!) and also my current laid-back lifestyle, certainly less stress than the St. Mary's years. Plus there's the lack of glasses, demoting me from "potentially distinguished" to "silly girl, trix are for kids!" So I'm left with a dilemma on the whole distinguished photo front.

I think some photoshop-ing is in order. Perhaps I can cut and paste my older, distinguished self onto an exotic background. We'll see.

1 comment:

Number Three said...

I heartily concur. This whole "headshot" thing is so-o-o over and can only be done with 100% irony, if not 110% snark. A headshot says, to me, I take myself too, too, way too seriously. But, then again, one needs one, for various purposes. So one is stuck . . . forced to engage in an activity that cannot be taken seriously but must be. (Double bind, anyone?)

Btw, I appreciate the link, and will note that I wore the exact same outfit to work today. Isn't that strange?

Hope all is well there.