Monday, January 18, 2010

The Chimpanzee Look


My new official portrait




I am in something of a quandary: my editor at the 'Vermont Catholic Magazine,' the little bi-monthly I write a column for, that is read by literally dozens of readers, does not like the picture that is included with my column each fortnight. I agree with her; it shows the face of a man made only for exposure on radio. I much preferred the old black and white picture they used to use, but now colour is the big thing. However, the reason she, and others, do not like the (new and old) picture is that, apparently, I am not smiling. My eyes, even though they are half-English, are smiling. Why should we smile in official portraits/photographs? When did this fashion appear that we must look like exhibits on the National Geographic Channel? What does a smile convey? I decided to search the official portraits of the Presidents of the United States: you do not see teeth on any US President until....wait for it.....Ronald Reagan! After him, it's all teeth and gums. Gerald Ford has the merest hint of a wintry smile - no teeth, though - like a hint of sunshine on a cloudy day. Dwight D. Eisenhower is serious, so is Lyndon B. Johnson. Gravitas, my friends - that is what an official portrait should convey - not confirmation of Darwin's Origin of the Species.

6 comments:

tempus putationis said...

Tell that to Terry Thomas, Father.
(But I do sympathise).

gemoftheocean said...

How about busting out that picture of you in your saturno?

Go ahead, tick off some liberals -- their days are numbered!

JD Curtis said...

I once saw an interview with a guy who took pictures of people with a civil war era camera. "Exposures" is probably the better word for it than "pictures". The subject had to hold their position for quite awhile rather than a quick snapshot in which a smile is briefly flashed. He stated he thought his exposures were more representative of the person's true character than any mere snapshot.

JD Curtis said...

Is the magazine that you write for available in an online version?

the owl of the remove said...

Yes, JD - at Vermont Catholic Magazine.

MomWithManyJobs said...

Perhaps to show your joy in the Lord you should smile...how are priests supposed to be approachable if you all always look so serious..show your human side that we know you have and SMILE!!!