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Well, crap.

Apparently I need to submit a hi-rez author photo to the Hugo committee for the ceremony, where I guess they flash all our photos on a wall or something.

This is kind of a problem.

There’s a reason I use the painting my mother did of me as my author bio. I look like a tattooed hippopotamus to the camera. (I am reliably informed that I am rather less so in person, because I am extremely animated most of the time, but you freeze frame that sucker and the results Do Not Flatter.)

The only really good photo of me ever taken was about an inch high and Kevin got it on his cel phone at a Mexican restaurant. There’s an adequate one that a friend took ages past, which is what Penguin uses, which I suppose I will wind up using, as they want it by Saturday and I have no real chance of setting up a pro photo shoot by then.  (And YES, I have been thinking for months I need to find someone to take some pro shots of me and get the bloody thing done so I’ve got something flattering to use for the book jackets, but I didn’t and now I pay the price and Kevin says I’m not allowed to turn down the nomination because they want a photo.)


ETA: Let me add that this isn’t a body image issue, per se—I gots no problem with mirrors. I pass them and go “Awwwww, yeah!” as often as not.  I’m not a small mammal by any stretch, but large chunks of me are built like the proverbial brick dollhouse, and I’m not complaining.

Sadly lots of things that are fine on a moving, gesticulating individual go really bad if you take a photo under all but the most aggressively controlled lighting.

ETA2: A buddy of Kevin's has been enlisted to try and help. I will buy him any dinner he asks. Meanwhile, checking to see if I can just use art at the Hugos.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

My sympathies. Given the choice between being flogged publicly and having my photo taken I'm not sure I could choose...

I'm torn between saying: "So you don't fit the mainstream standard of beauty, you have your own beauty!" and sympathizing. I'm not very photogenic either and tend to look rather weird and dorky in photos, if not downright frumpy (and sometimes a combination of all three). I really do think you look just fine in your photos. I love the tattoos and that you dress for yourself, not to please anyone else. You're not trying to copy everyone else or what you think is the standard. That in itself is beautiful.

Honestly, I generally feel pretty okay about my body most of the time--I'm a big mammal, sure, but I'm also a healthy mammal and I can sling mulch like you wouldn't believe (and realistically, in person, very few eyes get below the cleavage anyway.) Mirrors don't bother me. I can look in the mirror and go "Awwwwww yeah!"

It's just photos.

Another for the Does Not Photograph Well party here. There are a couple decent shots of me in existence but most of the time--especially when I have to "smile for the camera" -- my face does this... THING. I look okay in the mirror and I look okay if I have a neutral expression or if I'm talking, but when I know I'm being photographed...

We should have a club. Of course, there'd be no photos of the gatherings of said club...

Submit one of a wombat? Your fans will know their own. :-P

Where's the "Like" Button when you want it????

Were the deadline not so ... looming, I'd offer my own services (for the price of a plane ticket, although that would probably be more expensive than hiring a local).

Try calling the local Owen Mills studio?

Rest assured, you will be far from the only person there with an unflattering photo!

This would be why we didn't scrimp on the photographer for our wedding although we cheaped out on just about everything else - I'm picky enough about how I appear in most every amateur photo taken of me (wide face and pale skin turns me into a giant round moon unless the lighting is just right) that I didn't want to worry about how awful I look in the photos.

My mom says that the only professional my parents hired for their wedding was a photographer, and wow, is she glad she did.

Though personally, I've gotten my best shots of myself from a friend who's a talented amateur. I think it's because 1) she's a good photographer and 2) I'm more relaxed with her than I would be with a stranger.

I also don't photograph well even in the best circumstance. Facebook and pic tagging are NOT my friends.

The worst, though? RACE PHOTOS. Why anyone, ever, thought taking pictures of people running frocking marathons was a good idea I will never know. I mean, I've got one or two that are just the perfect, both-feet-off-the-ground no jiggle shots (and I love them. They are like rare and precious jewels. Or unicorns.) but the vast vast majority are taken at that exactly least flattering spot in my stride where all of gravity is pushing on me or pulling on me and it's all just jiggle and painface and horribleness. And photogs who lie on the ground and shoot up at runners should be shot on sight. Or kicked.

You could just go for it and submit the absolute worst pic you can find. Have fun finding something truly, laughably bad. And then enjoy how surprised everyone is when they see that you are, in fact, quite lovely. :) Promise low, deliver high.

Ditto on facebook. Thankfully the one good thing to come out of the timeline monstrosity is the option to require approval of anything you are tagged in before it is submitted to your timeline.

You know that is exactly why I don't look good in pictures... minus the tattooed part sadly.

Also I'm sure there has to be at least one amateur pro photographer who happens to be a fan of you in your area, they would probably love to help you out.

Are they demanding it has to be a photo? I remember years when the artists used their art for their picture, most notably Kelly Freas. I mean you're you, why should you follow their drummer?

Checking now, and that's a very good question...

I would contact a photographer anyways - you never know when there are going to be cancellations or a studio opening last minute. :) With digital photography, you can get your pictures really, really fast if someone has the time! Or maybe a friend or a friend of a friend locally would be able to get you in quick?

Know any reporters locally? reporters know photographers.

(I always wear tons of makeup for ID pix so my cheekbones and such don't go away in the one-flash-suits-all line, turning my face into a paper plate.)

Maybe put photog on ladder, look up in that direction, to remind world you have a chin? Try loads of angles and lighting. You know all this. *shuts up now*

Good luck!

(I apparently look very different in different light, perspective. Picassa cannot figure me out ... which is kind of reassuring, really.)

I'm the same way-- my favorite picture of me ever is blurry and chipmunklike, but it adequately represents what I look like in motion. Enthusiastic, yes. Photogenic? Oho no. I look like a mole on film.

Artists and Photographers... would anyone local be willing to trade?

If I were on the same landmass.

Just remember the three-quarter body shot rule. :::nods::: And dude, seriously... Hugo! ::::grins::

Speaking as a writer and a pro photographer here AND someone who detests all pictures of my self....please find a photographer whose work you dig and hire them!!! It will be worth every. single. penny spent to get an image that YOU like!!! Digital now should mean that you don't need to wait long and you can see the proofs on the spot....in most studios.

Do this.

It doesn't solve your problem, but I was just reading a fascinating articled (I think on io9) about why most people hate pictures of themselves, even if we like how we look in mirrors. Because we're used to seeing the mirror version and reversed just looks weird. So a lot of people get other people saying "oh, that's a nice picture of you" while they're (we're, I'm certainly one!) thinking it looks awful.

If they do let you use art, I'd say use one of your own pictures of you, because they do reflect your work as well as what you look like. And eventually get a pro, because they do all these magic things with lighting and angle and stuff. Which isn't really magic, but to someone like me sure seems like it!

Didn't RTFA, but it seems this theory is eminently falsifiable. Hand people a stack of mirror-flopped snapshots of themselves (either without visible written words to give away the game, or photomanipulated to keep the words unflopped) and see how they react.