Archer and me in the protective glass: Natural History Museum
I hate having my picture taken. Especially professionally. My first instinct every time there's a camera in front of me is to make a face: my famous open-mouthed pose, for instance. I try to pull the whole "I'm crazy! Lalala!" card, which works fine with friends and candid shots out on the town, but not so much with a professional photographer for a professional shoot.
Several weeks ago I journeyed to Matt's studio to pose for author photos for my book jacket. I brought Archer along with me, hoping to get a few shots with him as well to use for Babble or wherever they made sense. I was sure I wanted the book jacket photo to be of just me because that seemed more "author-y" for some reason. (I know. How lame am I?)
I brought a zillion outfits and tried my damnedest to pose in creative ways that didn't look forced. Except... um... That wasn't really working out. Every time the camera came near my face, I choked.
"Act natural," I reminded myself, "Little smile but not too much."
When the photographer showed me the film I gasped.
None of them looked like me. I was too funny-faced. Too come-hither, baby. Too tough. Too wide-eyed. Too head tilt-y. None of the faces fit the voice of the author. Had I opened the book and found my portrait I would have rolled my eyes. I was not someone I wanted to be friends with, let alone read about.
It's always a total buzz kill to look at an author photo and see the grimace of an "artist" who takes themselves way too seriously. Eyes that see through you. Domineering faces that contradict the voices of characters and narrators, and the book. Bleck.
It wasn't until Archer stepped into frame with me that the photos became beautiful. I watched as they appeared on the screen one by one. There was nothing forced or awkward or cock-eyed or open-mouthed or unflattering about any of the photos of us together. No preconceptions or poses or head-tilting or trying to look sexy or older or younger or thinner. Just me being me, with the person who most brings out my me-ness.
So I decided to bypass my original plan of solo author-shot. It was a stupid idea, anyway. I don't have to frown against a brick wall to look like a serious writer.
Besides, it made much more sense for my author photo to include Archer:
He is what made me an author, after all.
For those of you who inquired about pre-orders, Rockabye has just made its debut on Amazon. The book won't be available until March 28th, but by all means go and pre-order if you want!