The Authorial Pose

The book thing has kicked into a serious gear and one of the bits of serious, very serious, is the need for a proper “author photo” kind of affair. To the left here we see Linda Davies exhibiting a very strong example of the genre, the “hand around face and sort of middle-distancey” look.

I’m not someone who pays all that much attention to my appearance beyond, obviously, wearing clothes and trying to be presentable, but this photo business has me going deep into the questions of my personal semiotics. It’s not often that you have to ask yourself, explicitly, “how do I think I should look?”

And so the voyage of working out what would make sense and be appropriate given the context has begun. Yes, part of me wants to rest my chin on my fist and imagine I’m “weightless, in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by tiny little seahorses”. But probably I won’t go with that one, because I don’t know if my face is amazing enough to express the sentiment and thus communicate the hilarious referential joke.

For another thing, the photo could probably do with somehow saying “video games” in a pleasant, non-threatening way. So there’s that to think of as well. I could be like that guy dressed up as a Wiimote, but that could be… too much. Or I could do some cosplay and perhaps dress as my favourite character… FemShep. But maybe no to that too.

It’s both fun and terrifying to contemplate what would make sense for a photograph like this. For all the jokery, it does actually need to look good and be “on message”, so I can’t just write it off as silly. At the same time, I don’t want to be all intense about it because I don’t have the requisite reserves of intensity for this subject. So I’m left with idle wondering about what might work.

Current proposal in my head, and this should tell you just how semiotic I’m getting, is to be in front of a little blackboard (communicates teaching, ye olde days), with a drawing of a game of Pong in chalk (video game known to all, non-threatening, made analog through chalk) that I am losing according to the scores (self-deprecating, what charm!)… and then me. I guess I haven’t thought about what I will be doing, but I feel I have a start on the background and that’s the main thing really, right?

Feel free to chip in. All comers will be listened to in deadly earnest.

11 May 2011
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