Friday, February 13, 2015

Say "cheese" - or not

Tip #1 – Look above the lens of the camera.  “Keep in mind that looking straight into the camera can make all your imperfections, such as big nose or broad forehead, come out.”

Ekaterina, whose online article entitled, “7 Tips and Tricks for Looking Great in Photographs,” in the magazine Amerikanki, offers well-intentioned instruction and at the same time inadvertently reveals that English is her second language.  But it’s endearing, right?  Your big nose will come out?!  Who says that? 

With her profile icon thumbnail of Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn,” Ekaterina is my kind of mentor:  She blends cheerful encouragement with a bludgeoning reality, as in her Tip #5 – Natural Make-Up.  Here she cautions us that “when your make-up is bright…you may end up looking like a clown in the photo.”  Thank you so much, Ekaterina!  I won’t make that mistake again!

Thus Miss Ekaterina, whom I picture to be a luscious 22-year-old Russian model with pouty lips and a fur-lined hoodie, cheerfully swings her helpful how-to hatchet.

Oh I know, she doesn’t mean to make me - not a luscious, pouty-lipped model - feel bad about my appearance!  Just the opposite!  She’s here to help.

If only I had stumbled upon Ekaterina sooner!  Too bad for me that I came across her pointers after my visit to the DMV.  By that time, I had already broken her cardinal rule and stared into the lens.  When that civil servant directed me to “Look right here,” I looked right there. 

So what did I get?  Big nose and broad forehead!  And I don’t even have a broad forehead!

And evidently, in the nano-second between that clerk’s commandment and the click of the shutter, I unwittingly but efficiently contradicted each and every item on Ekaterina’s friendly list of things that one must do if one wants to look good in a photo. 

For example, I didn’t turn my face a little bit to the right – Tip #2.  The rankest amateurs know to turn their faces to the right!  A little bit.  How hard is that? 

You want to turn to the right especially if you’re posing for the photo that you will show to more people over the next decade than any other photo you possess. 

You don’t want to have to think about that big honker every time you hand your driver’s license over to an innocent clerk in the grocery store or the earnest young trainee at the car rental agency when you’re on vacation and trying to forget your troubles and have a good time.  For God’s sake!  Just turn your head!

Ekaterina explains it with the best grammar and punctuation she can muster:  “Research claims that we tend to show more emotion on the face’s left side, so when being photographed, turn your head a little bit to the right to look more appropriate for the occasion.  This will leave you looking more natural and happier.” 

What could be more nearly perfect for the occasion of the DMV than a right turn? 

But Miss E fails to stop.  “In addition,” she says, “this trick will help you to set off the coquettish curve of your eyebrow and the apple of your cheekbone.”


It’s too late for Mr. Plath too.  His new driver’s license photo just arrived in the mail, confirming that the “straight look is more aggressive, especially if you don’t smile.” 

In fact, being entirely without vanity, Mr. Plath made no advance preparations whatsoever for his pilgrimage to the DMV.  He even forgot that they won’t let you wear that hat you slap on first thing in the morning to avoid the tedious rigors of hair brushing. 

I mean, I love the guy, but in his latest photo he looks like a feral and defeated felon taken back into custody after seventeen days on the lam.

He should have turned his body sideways and popped his knee a little bit to create a slimmer silhouette (Tip #5).  But when I offer these suggestions, I get only that icy criminal stare.

What about that, Ekaterina?  And by the way, where’s YOUR photo, Miss-Marilyn- thumbnail-instead-of-practicing-what-you-preach?

I smell a Russian rat.  You can’t trust everything you find on the internet and I’m beginning to wonder about you!

What’s the matter?  Camera got your nose?