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What's in a face?

After charging about in Blogland this morning, before zipping off to do some birthday shopping (twin boys, 16 on Saturday), I couldn't help noticing that those writers who've posted photos of themselves on their blogs look all lovely and, well...writerly, somehow, while I look like a fool. I mean, I am a bit silly a lot of the time, but I do take my writing seriously. You wouldn't know it, looking at that picture, now would you? Trouble is, I find it very hard not to pull a daft face in front of a camera (embarrassment I suppose). It made me think though, does appearance matter if you're a writer? It shouldn't obviously, BUT...how many times have you glanced at a book jacket and thought 'ooh, I wouldn't have imagined him/her to look like that?' Funny, isn't it? Not that I'm ever disappointed (she said, back-peddalling like mad), just surprised sometimes. I think we all like to put a face to the name though, even if said face is a tad gormless (in my case).

Trouble is, if you go for some cheesy black and white, soft-focus, head resting on cradled hands shot, you run the danger of no-one recognising you in real life - or being terribly disappointed when they do, along the lines of "oh, I was expecting your daughter/prettier, younger sister/a human being, couldn't they make it?" etc.

Apparently, a picture paints a thousand words, but I prefer the other saying. A photo only tells half a story.

Comments

Lane said…
That's an interesting one. I don't think appearances particularly matter for writers. There's only a few contemporary ones I would actually recognize and that's because they're 'out there' a lot (ie Jeanette Winterson/marian Keyes) Have to say I'm not keen on many jacket photos (particularly the serious or wistful variety) and would far rather see something less posed.
Daughter took my blog photo in the summer and told me to stand up straight and stop messing about. She can be scary like that so I obeyed:-)
Your photo is utterly lovely. You look like someone it would be fun to have a cuppa and a chat with (that is a compliment honest:-)
KAREN CLARKE said…
Compliment graciously accepted. I'll put the kettle on...
FPDuck said…
I had to check my own photo after reading this. I have to say, you look a lot more writerly than I do.

Mind you, my photo was sneakily taken with the lab's digital camera at arms length, so it's hardly surprising I ended up looking like a moron.

Cheers,
Mike
Emerging Writer said…
I get around this dilemma by using an old photo. I know lots of writers use old photos and that's why it's such a shock to see them in flesh or on TV old and wrinkly ... but my photo goes to extremes!

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