So, somewhere in among the edits, Rebecca emails me to ask for a photo.
I am one of those people who are just not photogenic. Or at least I hope that’s what the problem is: if I really look like I do in most photos I have MUCH bigger problems than not being photogenic.
Anyway, suffice it to say I don’t like being photographed much. Oh, I don’t mind a photo with a group of friends or at a family party or a big event – I don’t make a big deal out of it – but generally I don’t let people take photos of just me, by myself. So when Rebecca asked for something, even a photo taken by a friend on a reasonable camera, I didn’t have many options.
My favourite photos of myself are (a) the one with a cherry blossom branch in front of my face and my eyes peeking over the top (thank you, Lizzie!), (b) the one of me barely visible behind my exceptionally long (and beautiful) cat, (c) the one taken from a long, long way away of me in a meadow in the hills above Prague, and (d) a very low res one taken at a ball hosted by a big Cambridge tech company where I’m wearing a lovely strapless ballgown, only the photo is from the shoulders up so it looks like I might be wearing… less. And… well, that’s about it for photos of me that I like. I have one taken with a group of friends (so not perfect anyway) at the Clare Hall (Cambridge college) Summer Ball, and in this one you can see dress straps… but my eyes are mostly shut.
Mostly I look recently dead in photos. So it didn’t help that, when Rebecca asked for a publicity photo, I was recently out of the hospital (after having had the latest rib out) and completely morphinated… Just the look I wanted to go for.
Anyway, after much trawling around for local photographers, I finally found the fabulous Louisa Walsh at ArtbyLAW. Louisa was absolutely brilliant (and extremely kind) and, thanks to tea and music from Tom, and a fantastic job on the make-up from Jade, I made it through the shoot… and even had a few pictures where the morphination didn’t show too much.
For the most part, I focused on looking like I was thinking evil thoughts. This, I suspected, would stop me from looking vacant… and it would also fit the book. And just me in general.
For instance, when asked what objects I’d brought to give a sense of my personality in the photos, I produced my gorgeous carved slate notebook with the celtic knot on one cover and the dragon on the other…
‘Would you like a flower, too?’ Louisa asked.
‘No, thanks,’ I replied, smiling sunnily. ‘I brought a knife instead.’
So in several of the longshots there I am with my notebook… and my knife (it’s a very pretty knife, as you can see: one of my favourites).
I did think about bringing a rib in a pot, but I suspected that might be too morbid… especially given the evil glint in the eyes that decided my favourite headshot.
So how did I work on looking evil? Well, mostly I just thought about the book. There, there be sneakiness… and a Dragon (sort of)… And a little bit of evil for good measure.