Thursday, 8 September 2011

How to be photogenic

A long time ago, it used to be customary to finish work on a Friday afternoon, head straight to the pub and get as drunk as possible. This could continue for most of the weekend if you didn't have anything better planned, and then Sundays were generally used for horizontal, stationary activities like watching TV, eating pizza and moaning that your tummy hurt. Now, the same customs are followed week-in week-out - for the British are nothing if not traditional folks - but with one large difference in the genetic make-up of a blow-out weekend. The photographs.

It used to be that a photograph was posed for - that you were on the whole warned when you were required to stand awkwardly within shot. Films weren't that expensive, but they were still finite, and you didn't want to use up all 24 exposures firing wildly into the dark simply because one of your mates has ordered a cocktail with a curly straw, or they'd fallen over into a hedge, or they'd lost their t-shirt in a dance-off. Even if photographic evidence of these occurances did surface, it was easy to point over the gloating picture-owner's shoulder, shout "OH MY GOD IT'S JIMMY SAVILLE" and tear the offending article into confetti as they peered into the distance at a child with a 99.

Not anymore though. Oh no. Camera phones have been my arch-nemeses (thanks @cunthorse!) for years now, snapping here there and everywhere, capturing my badly-constructed Play-Doh nose and 50p-shaped head in all manner of ridiculous poses and contortions. My face has three poses - eyes closed, mouth open (talking) and drinking, and a kalaidoscope of these three options is carted out every Monday and Tuesday by 'friends' who think they are being really funny by posting every single one on my social networking sites of choice. They know I won't un-tag them as I feel that this is a monstrous display of vanity, and I am not vain. I don't mind that I look like a startled be-wigged egg hidden behind several pint glasses - I've come to accept that despite that not being what I look like in the mirror, it's probably what everybody else sees. What upsets me ever-so slightly is that there are very rarely nice pictures of me that I'll want to save and look at when I'm older. If I made a photograph album today, I'd have about five pictures of myself and friends in, and for the rest of the past decade I'd have to pretend I'd done a Harold Bishop and vanished off the face of the earth.

I'm just not photogenic. But how does one become photogenic? Is it an attribute that can be lost? If so, how? I haven't always been a photographic disaster - in the late Eighties I was a baby model in Lancaster and Morecambe. I know, I know. I too marvel at how well-adjusted I have remained despite the glamour and attention of my youth. But is there such a thing as a photogenic baby? Or did I just always happen to be wearing a very nice hat, or chewing an adorable toy? You'll have to forgive me, I'm not very good with babies, and as such I'm not sure what it is that they do. I'm not even confident I could tell them apart, but I fear that's vaguely baby-ist, and I don't want to start making some kind of anti-baby name for myself. They're okay. (As a side-note, in case you were wondering what a baby model does for work, they sort of lie around and are used in advertising for local photography companies, baby shops, and other things I'm not able to recall. I'm sure there's a need for them for some reason.)

I suppose what I want to know are your photo tips. Do you have a fail-safe face you pull in order to have at least one picture every Saturday that doesn't make you look like an impersonation of yourself? What can I do (besides refraining from constantly shouting in people's faces) to stop looking like I'm constantly shouting in people's faces? I await your help anon.


Pinklilycat said...

I feel your pain. For the record I think you have a lovely face and your 50p/play-doh worries are unfounded but I realise from personal experience that this probably won't suddenly make them go away! Tips? Well here's one I've learned over the years - tilt your head down to avoid hideous double chin pics. You don't actually need to use this as you don't HAVE a double chin but it stops me from curling into a ball and stuffing myself up the chimney everytime I get a dreaded 'you have been tagged' notification...

Katie said...

haha I will try this out! i always said, if I ever ever ever got cosmetic surgery, it would be on my stupid double chin. Not my belly or my arse, my chin. How stupid is that? It's just a chin, who cares? (well, we do, but that's beside the point)

ben_wren said...

Here's my theory... You don't WANT to be photogenic! Photogenic people are attractive people with entirely un-expressive faces, such that their attractiveness is captured reliably every time, but it is repetitive - their appeal is superficial and freeze-frame friendly.

UN-photogenic people however, have characterful, expressive, lovely faces, that when frozen for that split second just HAPPEN to resemble a regurgitating Michael Winner. There's so much going on with this person that to capture just one frame doesn't tell the whole story.

If you look good in the mirror, AND terrible in photos, then you have been blessed with BOTH superficial and expressive attractiveness, and you win. It's just a shame that the prize is a collection of disturbing images of your gurning self.

Katie said...

Ben Wren, hello, and thank you for reading and commenting - it's your first time, yes? Nice to have you here.

Your lovely views appeal to me as they make me sound nice. You can stay :)

ben_wren said...

haha.. yes, first time! happy you appreciated it! i'm glad i can stay, it is a lovely place to be.

Katie said...

I bet you're not going to tell me who you are, are you?

ben_wren said...

Me? I'm nobody! I'm @ben_wren on twitter if that helps? I can't remember what or who exactly pointed me to your blog, but it was probably someone or other retweeting you i'd imagine... Does that satisfy your identificational gauntlet?

Katie said...

Ah s'pose...*goes to twitter*

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