I don't like having to smile on command, I don't like looking plastic, and I don't like it when photographers contort you into some kind of preposterous pose.
Okay, now put three fingers of your left hand an inch to the right of the centerline of your jaw and shift your weight onto your right side and throw your head back just a tad while turning your shoulders and flexing your knees. And smile!
Hey, if I wanted to play Twister, I would have worn more comfortable clothing.
My distaste for being in pictures is nothing new; I've always been camera-shy. As a child, I remember running from the room when one of my parents brought out the camera. They have plenty of pictures of my back, the top of my head, and the splayed palms of both hands in front of my face.
I often referred to my dad, not as "Poppa," but as "Poppa-razzi."
On those occasions when I consented to be photographed, I usually refused to smile, letting a scowl reflect my resentment. I'll show you, you no-goodnik picture-takers. Oh, what a fun teenager I was!*
I'm not sure why I feel this way. I guess I don't like being the center of attention, even for the millisecond it takes for the shutter to open and close. I don't think I'm terribly photogenic, and I'm uncomfortable leaving permanent, visual traces of myself. Who wants to be evaluated by loved ones looking at pictures thirty years from now? "Well, I don't know what happened. He used to be presentable. Now...pffft."
Looking at myself creeps me out. (Insert your own joke here.)
It's not just photos. I don't like looking at myself in the mirror either. Sure, I use the mirror when I shave (personal safety issue), and when I blow dry my hair (public courtesy issue), but that's about it. I even close my eyes when I brush my teeth. Once, I walked around with a huge smudge on my face for hours. (I did wonder why my family members chuckled every time they saw me.)
What brought on all this talk about pictures? Well, I took my author headshot yesterday.
And let's just say it wasn't pretty.**
**But that's a topic for another post.
Here’s a rare candid photo of me in a cabin in the wilds of Wyoming with two new-found friends who were kind enough to listen to one of my stories. (I’m the one in the middle.)