Friday, September 14, 2012

My author photo pains!

Hi, Everyone! Among the long list of unpleasant (to me) things I would have to do in connection with writing my novel, one was taking my author photo.

I was quite, quite aware that to become a published author, an author photo was a must. I was most determined to have it on my book cover, in fact. But that didn’t mean I was not turned into a mass of palpitating nerves when I thought about it.

I remember, the first time my name was uploaded on www.savarkar.org in connection with the translations of Savarkar’s poems in early 2010, a haze had come over my eyes. I had erroneously assumed the translations would be uploaded as anonymous. For almost two weeks I was trying to come to grips with seeing my name in public.

It was a ridiculous reaction in one aspiring to be an author! But there it is; logic and feelings are quite divorced from each other. How, I thought to myself, will I handle my author photo being publicly displayed? My mind shied away from giving answers.

I procrastinated till the very last minute to get my photo taken, which is not at all like me in general. One thing I had decided: I would go to a professional, established photographer, even if I had to pay a steep price. The photographer would have to work a little miracle for my photo, I was sure. Nancy Carbonaro was recommended to me, and with a racing heart I made the appointment.

I had very specific requirements (when do I not?) and issues that would have to be addressed while taking my photo:

·        I am not photogenic. That would certainly have to be overcome!

I have several family pictures that can—unhappily!—be described as “Monster from the Moon” or “Boiled Potato.” To have such a one for all to see would be a horror of the first order.

·        Alas! With all the good intentions I had, I had still not managed to lose weight.

·        The photo had to be natural and had to capture the essence of me.

I agonized over my jewelry (I love prominent necklaces.) I agonized over my hair. I agonized over the color of my top. In short, I agonized—over everything!

The photo shoot was an ordeal, but I was much comforted by the samples of Nancy’s photographic talents. All her photographs seemed to speak. It was as if she had captured her subjects for but a moment, any second they would move again. That’s how I want my photo, I told her (raising the difficulty level some more!)

And then I found myself posing in her studio. I felt ridiculous! I had to look here, look there; chin up, chin down; head turned here, eyes looking the other way; shoulders this way that way etc. All this I managed somewhat, but we did hit a snag at the smile!

I have never mastered the art of giving a teeny-tiny, graceful smile. Like in everything, I have to go the whole hog—with a full-toothed grin, all thirty-two teeth showing (as you can see!) I could have managed a serious expression (by thinking grim thoughts) but there was always a danger of bursting into giggles, possibly hysterical ones at finding myself modeling.

Anyway, we decided to go with the flow. Click, click, click went Nancy’s camera. Thump, thump, thump went my heart. She had allocated an hour for my session. How would I survive an hour of this? I was thinking. What if no photo looked acceptable (never mind good)?

Fifteen minutes into the session, when we were looking at the results of the last bout of clicking, I spotted the perfect photo. That’s it, I told Nancy, bag that and we are done. She felt she was not doing justice to me, with only a fifteen minute session.

But I knew it was never going to get better than that! I had never actually believed I would have a photo that I could display and look people in the eye afterwards. I was thrilled with Nancy’s work, which is why I put her name on the back cover!

It occurs to me now, that this post should really have gone in my “Divine Intervention” series.

But I so-o-o don’t want to think of my photo, that it escaped my mind. Very remiss of me!

Anurupa

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