I think it fair to say that I wouldn’t voluntarily jobswap with someone who earns their daily bread by cleaning sewers. If, however, there is the remotest chance of a photographer lurking behind his silly piece of twenty thousand dollar fish-eyed box, which he probably had to sell his mother to pay for, I’d seriously consider it. If he makes me stand there, usually on the back row, waiting for the bloody photocopying lady, who is never on time for anything, to show up for the school photo and has only been invited because she’s a personal favourite of the Boss’s, I would happily trade places with someone who collects batshit for a living.
Like most well-adjusted people, I dislike having my photograph taken. I still ask myself in my more lucid moments why people collect fifteen hundred pictures of themselves and upload them all on to their Facebook page? Worse still, there are another five thousand on a hard drive somewhere.
I won’t smile to order, and if I try, I either look menacing, deranged or frightened. Here’s a little secret. The camera does tell lies. Great big, whopping ones. I know what I look like; I look at myself in the mirror every morning. A camera makes me look like me but with special needs. My passport photograph is of the Yorkshire Ripper with a red nose. And it’s why, in virtually all group photographs, I look like the village idiot, inconvenient at weddings.
Here’s a few little tips. If you are constrained by force majeure to be part of a group photograph, there are a number of things you can do by way of passive-aggressive sabotage. If you’re on the edge in a group picture, you’ll tend to lean in. Don’t. Leaning in makes you look desperate to be part of a group that obviously hates you. Most cameras for group work will have slightly wide-angled lenses which have the effect of making your already slightly pointed head look even more so, so you look like an alien. Here’s the strategy. When situated on the edge of a group, make a point of leaning out, ignoring the bleats from the man at the front to ‘huddle up a bit’. And don’t forget to bare your teeth and go slightly cross-eyed. It screws the shot for everyone else, which ticks off the photographer, which serves him right for having bad teeth and for being a photographer.
This little tantrum originated from the fact that I have had to have new passport photographs taken, which is unsettling.