Saturday, 11 July 2009

The making of an author photo - Part I

I didn't want my image on the Internet. Didn't want it my book(s) either, and definitely not in any newspaper. For an author these days achieving this, I realized, would demand a bit of dodging, running and conniving.

When the editor of Café Au Lait sent me the list of items I needed to submit, a photo was among them. Was this optional? I asked hopefully. Yes, she replied. Bingo! One down - but how many more to go?

The blog came next and I saw that I had lots of company in the incognito-blogger department. Then I realized that although this was true of writer blogs in general, it was certainly not the norm for the sites of published authors. Norm be damned, I resolved. My avatar would be a beachscape, and that was that.

The press releases were a bit trickier to negotiate since an author photo was de rigeur there but no one made it an issue - except for the features editor at one local newspaper. She called and told me she'd run an article, but insisted on a photo.

"I don't have a recent, decent one," I replied. That was the truth. All my decent pictures were taken years ago when I was young. And thin.

"No problem!" she chirped. "Are you in Trinidad at the moment?"

My alarm-o-meter redlined. "Uh, well, yes..." Damn. A lie would have solved the looming problem but where was one when you needed it?

"Okay, then. I'll send a photographer around."

"No!" I thought fast. "You can't do that."

"Really, it's no problem. We do this all the time."

"You don't understand," I squeaked. "I have the cold, I've been in bed for two days and I'm an absolute wreck right now. I cannot, CANNOT face a photographer." This was the truth, but it sounded like a whopper even to my ears. I produced a wracking, hacking cough for effect and the editor lady capitulated.

"Okay," she decided. "I'll run it as is this time but I'm just letting you know I'll be coming back at you for that photo."

Ha, I thought. Catch me. But I could feel my time running out...

12 comments:

Chennette said...

I am impressed you've made it this far without facing the photographer! Nice cliffhanger ending to Part I...bated breath etc on my part :-)

akalol said...

Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be. ~Duane Michals

I take hundreds of photographs but have about two of myself somewhere on my hard drive. Like you, I also don't like to be photographed and I once chased a photographer using a big stick and a garden rake for trying to photograph me - that was just a joke and I am neutral to being photographed since I take comfort in knowing no photo or photographer could do me justice :)

But I see you have a photo up at Novel Spaces and it's your second one. So, don't fear the photographer since you have nothing to fear ;)

Lane said...

Wouldn't it be nice just to use photos from 20 years ago. We could call them vintage:-)

Your photo on Novel Spaces is lovely. And it's nice to put a face to the name:-)

Liane Spicer said...

Chennette, I'm impressed myself! I was hoping I'd get away with it indefinitely, but knew that was too much to hope. :)

akalol, I love that quote! Did you see the photo of Obama apparently scoping out a young lady's rear end this week? When the video was played it was nothing like that. Sarkozy, on the other hand was behaving like the typical gawking Trini male...

"no photo or photographer could do me justice" - my sentiments exactly! I know, I know: there's nothing to fear but fear itself... :D

Thank you, Lane. I'm all for vintage photos, btw. And I agree that it's nice to be able to match the name to a face - it's been a couple of years, after all. :)

JJ Beattie said...

Brilliant Liane. I can't wait to hear part 2!

Fia said...

I know it's tricky. I have a sort of half way house with mine. I could be anybody no?

Liane Spicer said...

JJ, the denouement is coming soon!

Fia, your photo is nothing short of brilliant. Wish I'd thought of it myself!

Debi said...

Ah but I've seen the face of Liane - and it's gorgeous!

Makes me feel privileged now -I feel like I'm privy to private info.

PJ said...

Though I've never seen a photo of you, I feel like I've got a great sense of you from your writing. Not to say that I'm not curious about what you look like...

Liane Spicer said...

Debi, thank you. You are very kind. Now if you saw my stomach... :(

PJ, I think it must be difficult for writers to disguise themselves in their work. Writing is so very revealing, even when, or especially when, the revelations are inadvertent.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

I updated my photo by taking it with a self-timer. If you want something done right, ya gotta do it yourself!

I angled from above so it looks like I have a chin LOL!

Liane Spicer said...

Sandra, I tried taking a shot of myself with my cell phone but it wasn't exactly a raging success. So I called in my son and his trusty Canon. Poor boy. I made him suffer.

Um, do you know how to angle the camera to make me look thin? :D