The Picture of Dorian Gray - One Can Hope...
February is getting busy. One of the things that's been on the list of things to do for the longest time is getting a proper photo shoot under the belt. Consider it booked and ready to roll. It's one of those things that you can put off forever but you really shouldn't if you're out to achieve something on your own. Actually, the same can be said even if you've got the weight of Sony or Coca-Cola behind you and are trying to achieve something. Getting your shit together to know what you want however is another thing entirely. Have you ever sat down and asked yourself how you want people to see you? That photo-shoot will be one of your 'business cards' and I've seen some horrendous examples of author photographs ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Even though I've already decided and discussed what we're going to do (so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to get), I had a quick look at what some other people had done yesterday. A writer of erotic fiction you may be, but when you're over 60, should you really be pushing out a photo of yourself wearing flares with your legs wide open? It's a genuine question. Judging by the covers of her books, maybe she should. Maybe that's exactly the image she wants to be portraying but I have to say, it made me shudder a little. Ultimately though, it's your decision, your life, your career... do what you want to do but don't ever forget why you're doing it. Am I qualified to make sweeping statements like this? After putting more than 300 magazine covers out into the world that did their job, you get a feel for what works and what doesn't and thankfully the ones that fall into the 'doesn't' category where many years ago.
One final word on this subject - did you ever see an author photograph that didn't change for over twenty years? That's not good practice at all. That's lying through your teeth. A little honesty about being who you really are is good. People will respect you a lot more for it. It's 2014 - you can't hide from the public like you were able to in 1985.
I don't know if I should be talking about this yet but that leads me nicely on to something I'm really excited about. I've never considered getting my portrait painted - it's something that wouldn't even cross my mind to think about doing but one conversation led to another and how could I say no to Nick Lord - who is just wrapping up his portrait of Hilary Mantel (winner of the Booker Prize - twice) and has previously painted Amy Winehouse and er... the Queen amongst many others. He is also Portrait Artist of the Year 2013. On those grounds, it would be dumb to say no but more than anything, it goes to prove that good things happen when you say 'yes' more often than 'no'. Besides, I think I shall get on swimmingly with Nick. I'll post more when I know more - it was one of those things that I was having a hard time keeping to myself but now I don't have to.
Insert smiley face.