No need to retouch my attitude

Oh, terrible title. Sorry.

So this morning I rolled out of bed at 9am, had some cereal, powdered my face, and headed out into the wet, humid, nasty NYC air to find myself here:

Damp, sweaty, and nervous, I met with Joe, the head of this company, recommended to me by my headshot photographer. I watched as he showed me my first retouched image. He’d smoothed my skin, fixed the contrast issues, removed flyaway hairs (one of which he did before my eyes), and overall just made me look lovely. I was thrilled. Then he showed me the picture I plan to use for my “official” headshots (the others are more commercial). This was an even more remarkable transition. He showed me before and after, and he made the slightly dark photo shine. Basically, the retouching changed this kind of stuff (P.S. this isn’t me, hopefully obviously):

I know there’s a whole to-do about retouching for magazines and whatnot, and a bunch of body image issues all tied up in this idea of messing with what’s “natural.” I think that headshot retouching is different, and I am very much FOR it.

A) It’s supposed to look like you on your best day. On the day I shot my pictures (which I couldn’t reschedule), I had food poisoning and was vomiting. Clearly, I was a little worse for wear. Joe made me look like ME.

B) Lighting is imperfect. Perhaps the best shot of YOU isn’t the best lit shot. A retoucher can make the shot lit like it should be to highlight the best YOU.

C) You want to be a blank, open canvas for a director or casting director. They must be able to see you in the role they’re casting. Taking away all the unnecessary detritus (hair flyaways, pimples, red nose from the cold because you shot outside in a tank top in 15 degree weather) helps them see more of YOU.

D) Onstage, you wear makeup. I’ve worn everything from glitter to blood to face paint to simple foundation. They can transform the way you look instantly. They want to see the base from which they are working.

E) Everyone else is doing it, so you kind of have to.

Frankly, I’m thrilled. I think I look beautiful, yet (or and?) also like me. The retoucher said, “That’s a lovely photo” and I feel like it’s exactly what I’d hoped. Just like I felt with my headshots, I’m just really glad I trusted the professionals. I don’t need to know everything about how to sell myself in the business right now. I have great advisors (my photographer, Joe, the people at Reproductions where I’m getting prints), and they’ll help me figure it out. I’m at step one. And I can’t wait to see where I go from here. EEK!

It’s all happening!

P.S. At this point, I’m keeping pictures and info about myself to the very minimum. If you knew me in real life, you’d know that this was me. But I’m not sure, at this point, I’m ready to put my picture on the internet and, in theory, have people walking down the street in New York know all my inner workings. This is an (oxy)moronic idea, as I’m sharing all my deep thoughts on here, but the more anonymous the details of my life are (name, age, where I live, etc) the better I’ll feel.

This is a quote from my own notes for my Values seminar on Augustine:
“it’s not real feelings that one feels when one feels feelings in viewing theatre.”
— a really fever-drained brain


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