I'm possibly the least photogenic person in the world. The thing is, I keep choosing careers that put me in the spotlight, more or less. Theatre, in college. My first "real" job was as a naturalist for the Philadelphia Zoo--I wound up in papers all over a two-state area. Then for a while I was in local government. Just small papers, but on a pretty regular basis.
Then it was back to showing off wildlife for a living. At least the hawks and owls are pretty in pictures. And now I'm an author. Sigh. So more sitting and smiling for the camera. In real life, I always made a point of avoiding the camera--hiding behind tall people was a favorite. I mean, I'm short, I'm round, my teeth are sort of crooked and my hair is always flat. Who wants a picture of that?
It turns out, people do. Even if we think we're horrific to look at, we are who we are. Our families want to remember us. Think about a friend or loved one who isn't classically attractive. Is that what you see when you look at them? Scars, warts, weight or a giant nose? No. You see the person you love and care about. I was talking to a friend who mourned the fact tat there were almost no photos of her deceased mother--she'd always insisted on hiding from the camera. It took me a very, very long time to realize that waiting until I some day lost wait to have pictures taken was stupid. My kids might some day want to remember me the way I am now. So to hell with it. Snap away, at all my dumpy, aging glory.
A few years ago, (okay, maybe a dozen or more) my spouse and I started dressing up for the local Renaissance Fair. This was an education in being photographed. Total strangers would come up and take our photo, or even more, ask to have a photo taken with us. We always agreed. After all, I'd never have to see the picture, would I?
But after years, I finally figured it out. People like posing with us because we look like real people. Face it not everyone in the Renaissance was a model. Some were just as ordinary as us. Now that we do steampunk, it's even worse. As my spouse likes to say, "Go ahead. We don't dress like this because we hate attention." The photos in black are both at ConFusion, even in the same hat, but 2 years apart. Can you see the difference in my comfort zone?
So I've finally bitten the bullet and posed for formal author photos. The 'normal' one is for my publishers, the one in the hat is for steampunk and SF events. Russ, the photographer is a Rennie and steampunk friend and the first time he took a photo of me, he said to think of the camera as a puppy. I laughed, imagining my St. Bernard mix, who probably outweighs Russ. He caught that laugh, and from there I began to get comfortable with his camera.
SO here's my advice. Embrace yourself. The people in your life want to see YOU. Not a model stand in. Take lots of pictures and pose for even more this holiday season.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to everyone!
And don't forget to look for Ashes and Alchemy, coming Jan 6 from Carina Press!
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that's not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.
Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian's doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness—the same illness, it seems, that's responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy's classmates.
Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it's he who will need protecting—from emotions he'd thought buried long ago.