Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Vincent van Gogh was very camera shy, it seems. A photograph of him age 13 and another of him age 18 survive, and this one of him as an adult...from the back. Emile Bernard is the young man facing the camera. In general, Vincent was a bit distrustful of photography vs. portrait painting: when Theo sent him a photograph of their mother in September 1888 (while Vincent was living in Arles), Vincent thanked him in a letter then wrote, "But I do not care for it at all as a real likeness." He then proceeded to paint a portrait based on the photograph, adding the rich color he loved.
I understand Vincent's camera-shyness, and next week I have to face it head-on (literally) when I have author photos taken for my book and for Avon's promotional materials. I'll be working with a former student of mine, Brandi Morris (see her website here), and I hope she can do something with me. I'm SO not photogenic, and somehow I have to look approachable, smart, pretty, engaging, and fashionable all at the same time, for those readers who actually do look at the photos when considering whether to buy a book. We'll be going for a very soft look, in keeping with the novel's subject (thank goodness I've been growing out my hair), and we're thinking of shooting here on my (our) campus, since it's on the water and quite scenic. *Sigh* I'll get up in front of however many people and yak all day long without fear -- but photos freeze me. Deer in headlights is definitely not the look we want!