Since I’m getting my website redone, I knew I had to have an author photo. I’ve been resisting this for a really long time, since I have chubby chipmunk cheeks and dimples and would much prefer to be dramatic, angular, and perhaps tubercularly pale in the fashion of a Romantic. Also, I tend to have frozen grins.
However, needs must, and I did know a photographer in Philadelphia where I live. Kyle Cassidy has a wide range of work.
We arranged to do the shoot on Friday night. I wanted an outdoor, urban setting because that’s where I live and it would feel weird to do something sylvan. The night part was bonus coolness; we did evening because I had to work during the day, and cloud cover on Friday was such that shooting before dark wouldn’t have been any advantage.
Kyle brought his assistant, Addie, who helped with the lighting and also providing me with some entertainment. We started off at a street corner near my apartment. I leaned on a stone staircase rail and tried to look authorly. Kyle told me the best pictures of people were when they weren’t aware of being photographed, so I had to try and forget he was rapidly snapping pictures while I stared directly into the lens’ red eye. Occasionally he would fire off a “look at me” or a “look into the distance” or “now I’m waiting for that car to go out of shot.”
It helped a lot to know and trust the photographer, but I still felt a bit awkward at times. I didn’t know what to do with my hands, and I didn’t want the cheesy glamour-shot chin on fist even though I sometimes do that naturally. Addie noticed the large ring I was wearing and we tried to get that into a few shots. We tried different facial expressions: “laugh!” “you know a secret!” “Think of kittens…you hate kittens?”
Kyle showed me several of the shots, but eventually I had seen enough; if I kept looking, I was afraid I would freeze up.
Then we trekked to a nearby alley. I was getting cold by this point so switched from my jacket to my wool coat. Per instructions, I’d brought two jackets and a couple of scarves to vary the look. Also my hat, since I planned to be walking home late in the cold. For the alley shots, I wore my coat and the second scarf. I was able to shove my hands into my coat pockets (mainly because I was cold) but I think that helped me feel more relaxed. You can’t see my hands in the photos, but I’m wearing red gloves, nice and warm. I became a bit mesmerized by the camera lens as the camera went click click click.
We probably had enough shots by then, but on our way to our final destination, The Pen and Pencil Club, I spotted a neat bit of ironwork and we paused there for a few more shots. This time I was wearing my hat, which makes me look like a cheery Dutch newsboy, and I didn’t mind; clearly, I was getting used to the process. And having seen some of the results, I’m pretty pleased.
If you’re wondering where the pictures are, I’ll to post some tomorrow, so you can vote for your favorite.