Well, soon you'll see the real me, albeit very tiny, on MSDN. A preview of that photo is on Gotdotnet right now. And I should warn you that it isn't what I look like all the time, or even what I may look like a month from now. This version also makes my elbow very large. I told Kent Sharkey that I'd rather my brain looked really big, but I had to settle for the elbow. :D
Having your picture taken is a unique process, especially if like me you were at one time a journalist on the other side of the recording instrument. Incidentally - MSDN didn't pay for this nor is this an “official Microsoft photo“- whatever that would look like? - this was my birthday present to myself to immortalize the hair before I eventually snap back to reality and cut it off.
Bill Anthony, who did this and other photos of me I may or may not have the necessary vanity to reveal, is a professional photographer/former art director/designer. (He's done work for our local alternative radio station KEXP and usually prefers to shoot rock bands, so I'm honored.)
What struck me as interesting was the huge contrast between this shoot and the Olan Mills cattle call everyone went through in 6th grade. It's not just that my hair is no longer feathered and my acne has settled down. It's the way the twitchy “sitting for a portrait“ process turned into something that felt more like a friend at a party with his personal camera, rather than man hiding behind a huge box on a tripod.
Sure, there was the silver umbrella to reflect light back at me, and Bill used strobes and flashes (rightfully perturbing two other patrons of the cafe who seeing the huge windowed place was entirely empty, decided to sit *right by us* as we are shooting. I mean get a clue!). But it felt different.
Bill didn't have to be worried about film. He shot zillions and zillions of photos (and you need to, when it's Betsy - I have the camera curse where I am not even lucky enough to be invisible like the vampires do. Something happens with the light and planes of my face, and I sweel up like a bullfrog). Instead of that little filmstrip the Olan guys handed out in bygone days, our proof sheet was electronic. I have printouts of course, and can make more, but the main event is the CD where I'm captured in millions of pixels of light.
We take this magic for granted now, that we can carry around memories of light in our phones, in our cameras, in our computers, in these portal media like CDs and DVDs. And while I love film (and so does Bill Anthony) the generosity of the electronic age is that with these light packets we can carry around, slide into a Web site or a pocket, we can remind each other there's a human on the other end.
(Full of color. And with big elbows!)
Live it vivid, people!