Photo Awkwardness

Modern life means cameras everywhere, so any author event these days involves plenty of being photographed. Which is all understandable and fair enough, but has me reflecting upon a little irony -

Despite my day job of appearing in front of a camera, I'm not particularly comfortable when being photographed.

Part of it is the raw material available, to be brutally frank. I doubt anyone would ever want to paint a picture of me, unless it's one designed to scare away trespassers.

But there's more to it than just that - I never got the hang of adopting the right expression. When I'm told to smile I look more like I'm wearing a death mask.

And anyway, should a crime writer be photographed smiling, given the grimness of the subject matter?

I spent a while agonising about what face to pull when I started doing events, and normally try for the mean and moody look. But that tends to come out more like something you see on a Police - Wanted photofit.

On the subject of which, here's a snap from last week, to underline my point about how I don't appear well - (but I want one of these to help me get through the traffic!)

police bike simon.jpg

I've compared my thoughts about being photographed with other authors, and there's a remarkable degree of agreement - most aren't comfortable with it.

Strange, don't you think, that a bunch of people who want to share their innermost thoughts and feelings with the world through their writing, suddenly get all shy when it comes to being photographed?

It just goes to emphasise how solitary this writing business is. We work away for weeks on end without really seeing that many people or talking about what we're doing...

... and when it comes time to venture out and face the world, we can struggle.

Ah, the quirks, ironies and oddities of this writing life. Particularly when you tend to photograph more like a shaved ape than a passable impression of a human...