Derrrrrppp!: Self-Portraits at 23
June 12th, 2015
Recently, one of my poems was chosen as a finalist in the Blue Bonnet Review’s Spring Poetry Contest. They asked for a picture to use on their site, which always causes me to quibble. I’ve never really had a decent portrait-style photo of me taken since high school, and using the homepage thumbnail from my site seemed…flippant. So I took a stool, a tripod, and my camera out to the balcony for a deluxe selfie shoot (I was too bashful to ask roommate and cream wizard Jake Ayres if he could help out). Above is the only passable image from half an hour of clicking, dashing, and stupidly grinning before the shutter went off.
(Please check out my poem and all the other Blue Bonnet contributors here — I’m currently second from the top. Look for the picture of my face.)
It’s not a bad shot (don’t worry, those are just a few scrolls beyond) but my big takeaway was how deceptively difficult it is to capture your own countenance. Everyone has moments when you look at your face in the mirror and see your ideal countenance, as in this is the face I want to be photographed — this somehow captures the nuances of my character in one stern-but-gentle expression. But that perfect tweaking of muscle and jaw can look really, really dumb with the wrong angle, or the wrong light. I forgot about why photography — portraiture, representation of any kind, really — is such an interesting and delicate art.
The photo above has been manipulated, as well. I took a fine-toothed comb to it in Photoshop, lightening certain areas, bringing out texture, removing ugly things. There were several. Hair, just in general.
I took care of the stray hairs and tried to drain some of the pink from my complexion. Before going out to pose for the camera, I looked in the mirror and nothing was amiss. It’s crazy to think how many errant follicles we carry around, and how irritating just one of those can be (and in so many ways). Try an ingrown hair some time.
Some aberrations are a bit more obvious. I’ve attempted a gradual progression from “not unattractive, but I look like a douche” to “if someone saw this on LinkedIn, they would refer me to a clinic.”
If you can think of better captions, please sound off in the comments.