Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pick a Pic

As I mentioned, back on Monday I was interviewed for an upcoming article in The Great Smokies Review, an on-line journal.  They also wanted a picture of me to accompany the article.

Now, given my choice, I'd probably as soon go to the dentist as to have my picture taken. Even when I was young and reasonably attractive, I still dreaded the photographer. 

But I'm always having to produce a photo of myself when I go to a conference or a book festival or for various publicity related reasons -- there was even a picture of me inside the back cover of my last book -- a picture I paid a professional photographer what seemed like an awful lot of money for -- and didn't actually like very much. 
Plus that picture is five or six years old. Time has marched on.

So when Elizabeth Lutyens who edits the journal said that her partner would be there to take some pictures of me -- and that he is a professional photographer who used to work for LIFE,  well, I knew this was an offer I couldn't refuse.
Michael Mauney spent well over an hour trying to get a decent picture of me. He was so nice and so patient that the whole thing was actually kinda fun.

At one point Michael asked me how I'd like to look in the pictures.

"Like Sophia Loren -- forty years ago," I told him.

"So would she," he snorted.

Michael's a terrific photographer but not a magician. The pictures look like Vicki, all 67 years of me.  I'm pleased with them. 

One of these four I like best just as a composition; another I think makes me look the best.

And I'd be interested in your opinions.

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chiccoreal said...
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chiccoreal said...

Dear Vicki: Love #3! As you look always look lovely this picture shows more personality and is very iconic and classic. Your beautiful masterful hands add a delightful dramatic flair to the portrait. Congratulations on your recent success!

joanny said...
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joanny said...

You look great in blue or blue is your color, however you are not looking at the camera --- so number three (3), but the second photo can be used in addition say when they need a couple of photo's. Oh by the way I would still like to look like Sophia Loren, even at her age now for she is aging gracefully.


Martin H. said...

I think Michael has captured the warmth of your personality in each shot. The fun element of the 'shoot' is there for all to see.

Numbers three and four are my favourites. Four probably shades it...just.

Joan said...

Number 4 is my favourite Vicki, because you are looking straight at me, but they are all lovely... fellow 67 year old.

jennyfreckles said...

I can only sympathise - I have such a fast blink reflex that when people use flash I always have my eyes closed! I have given some serious consideration to these photos.
1 sets you in your context - and you look good in blue.
2 looks a bit severe to me and that very light background detracts
3 I like best, makes you look approachable and warm; I like the blue again and the half-turned shoulders. One for friends & family?
4 I also like and would be tempted to use as a professional photo. You look attractive, wise, thoughtful - and just slightly amused, as though you know a secret other people don't!

And if I look like that in 10 years time I'll be well pleased!

Pat in east TN said...

I like number 4 the best, with 3 running close behind. It's a hard decision, as I think all are good.

I'm with you about having my picture taken .. not my favorite thing. UGH!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm with everyone else. Blue is definitely your color. You look very regal. I like #3 and #4. I agree with Jenny. You look very wise and knowing in #4.

My husband and I enjoyed a laugh at the Sophia Loren comment. Who wouldn't love to look like Sophia at any age. It was nice the photographer had a sense of humor.

Elora said...

Definitely the fourth photo in black. This photograph should be about what you haven't said...the image contains a bit of mystery, amplified by the black sweater and your dark eyes; it is also a bit bemused; it has "possibilities" and reaches way beyond the others in terms of "beyond realities" ...there's even a bit of hidden mischief behind those eyes.
And it in "come with me, reader, I have more to tell you..."
As a photographer, for's a no-brainer.

Hope this helps!

Friko said...

For a book or an interview it has to be the last photo.
I am deliberately not reading the other comments, they'd make me dither and change my mind.

nidynoddy said...
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June said...

I like the last one.
I like author's hands to show . . . and I like your hands.
I don't like photos of authors' hands with freshly, professionally done nails, as if they sit around dictating their work to a lackey.

Charlotte said...

I like #4 the best.

Brenda said...

#4 - no contest! Before I read all the comments, I'd decided on #4, but I do like #1 for the setting and the story it tells. Perhaps that's the "composition" one you mentioned.

Everyone likes #3 too, but I veto that one. The background is too busy, it looks like you're in a church which I'm not sure fits (now if you were an author-nun...), and then there's that string of lights going into your ear. Okay, that's my two cents worth. All of them are terrific photos of you, I bet that was indeed a fun photo session.

Mel said...

Number 4 is my favorite, but the first photo is very interesting and gives a sense of place. Good luck deciding!

Louise said...

I like number 1 because it shows who you are, and number 4 as a more formal shot that still lets your character shine through. In each of the photos, you show the confidence and grace that the years have brought. Growing older can be such a blessing, all we have to do is realize it, and you obviously have.

KarenB said...

1 - like the scenery bit as it shows a little of the mountain setting, but you look a bit worried or unhappy so not this one;
2 - looks way too American Gothic, too stark, too stern
3 - good picture of you, I like the background but it may be a bit busy for a publicity photo, which leaves;
4 - good picture of you and close enough to get a sense of your lovely warm personality.
So I'd go with 4, but 3 is good as well.

Liz said...

Love #4, Vicki. In #2 you look like a Supreme Court Justice (oh if only we were lucky enough to have you on that court!). I think the slight tilt of the head in #4 and showing your hands make you see approachable and warm. Here's to many more published books that require a jacket photo!!

Liz said...

*seem* oops

Star said...

Ok, you asked! I like the last one best, for the purposes of the exercise. However, if that's the best a professional photographer can do, I'm not very impressed to be honest.
The first one is nice because you are wearing blue and that looks good against the chosen background. However, your facial expression is like a deer in the headlights. You look cold and frightened, which is not what you want, I'm sure.
The second one is too severe. It makes you look like a Mrs. Danvers, in Rebecca?
The third one, we are back to blue again, but the background is awful, with the lights showing. I think a professional photographer should have paid much more attention to the background. In addition, you are looking away from the reader, who I'm sure would prefer that you connect with them?
So the fourth one is my favourite, but it could be a whole lot better. We can't see your lustrous hair to its best advantage and a little makeup would enhance your complexion. However, the look on your face is welcoming and sincere and the addition of your hands adds a lot. I love your hands showing.
A writer's hands are very important and give this particular picture great depth.


Vicki -- Your beauty shines through in all but I like the last one on the bottom of the post the best. -- barbara

Bouncin' Barb said...

I love the very last one on the page. And they are all lovely but this one just captures your beautiful hair against the darkness of your clothing. And I might add that you look no where near 67. Very pretty.

Darla said...

I like the smile in your eyes in the last one... :-)

pat said...

the last one is best in every way shape and form, compositon, the relaxed look on your face, content...background is background and NOT coming out of your head...#4 without a doubt

Jill said...

The last one. The lighting is very good and it brightens up your skin tone. Great expression on your face. They are all very nice actually. I also like the fact that your hands are included in the shot it makes you look very relaxed and natural.

Vicki Lane said...

I'm really enjoying the thoughtful comments and will come back eventually to tell you which photi I prefer and why.

Poor Michael had to work with me just as I am. I haven't worn makeup in many, many years -- the last time I put on lipstick I felt like I had on big clown lips. And manicures don't go with my chosen life style.

Most of you have never seen me in person. I note that those who have -- Brenda, Karen, and Liz -- all like 4. Interesting.

Pepper Cory said...

It's pic#4. It's that straight-on gaze that captures who you are. Although blue's your color, black's the thing for the portrait.

Nicole212 said...

They are all really lovely, but #1 and #3 are my favorites, because as everyone has already mentioned, the blue is really stunning. I like three because of the stained glass compliments in the background and (like in #4) your expression looks as if you have a secret you aren't sharing. :) Beautiful pics!

Kristen Haskell said...

I love the last picture where you are looking at me. I think you look lovely and real. Blue is a fabulous color on you. I also love the background with the stained glass but that is not the focus here. You look beautiful and intelligent in all of your photos and believe you should chose the one you feel happiest with. I think you friends, family, fans and bloggers will agree. You don't take a bad picture.

Mama-Bug said...

Vicki I love the last one the best! That little hint of of a smile just makes your eyes sparkle.

dana said...

The second photo, where there is a window behind you, looks like the photographer was trying too hard for background interest and is a bit distracting.

The last photo, shows a woman at peace with her world and herself. Her hands folded over (what appears to be) a cane, her hair spread out upon the back of her shoulders.

Yeah. You could write a book about that woman.

Mary Maupin said...

I like the first one, outside you house--though I think a little on the left could be cropped, so you're more in the middle. I think it's the "Vickiest".

Sally said...

#1 and #4 are both good. To me #1 would be Elizabeth Goodweather. Such a charming character I'm delighted to have recently met.

For twenty three years I lived about forty miles west of you. Those mountains and their people are very special to me as well. I miss them.

Vagabonde said...

I have not read what the other bloggers have said. I like the last picture the best. To me it looks like you were telling a story and just stopped for a moment to see if I got the punch line – a little questioning, a little apprehensive, a little ironic, with a lot of intelligence and kindness showing through. I like the others but that one has the most feeling for me. Your hands too are very expressive. It looks like you were explaining something using your hands, and you stopped for a moment. This is a good portrait.

Vicki Lane said...

Interesting -- Mary, i think you're the first person who knows me in person who hasn't chosen 4.

Sally -- I'm glad you like Elizabeth -- but she's younger, slimmer, and better looking than I.

Which do I like? Number four, to my eye, make me look the best. And I, too, like the inclusion of my hands.

I'm not crazy about my expression in number one and I'm a little put off by the string of lights coming out of my ear in 3.

I really like 2 because of its composition and the reflection on the lower right side. But I agree, I'm kind of stern.

They're all fine with me though. If I had hated any of them, you wouldn't have seen them...

Reader Wil said...

The pictures are great! All of them are pleasant and natural. I don't like faces with a lot of make-up to make them look younger. There are a few people who make an attempt to look ten or may be twenty years younger. They have face-lifts and look ridiculous. I wouldn't trust people, women or men, who don't want to show their age and their grey hair. You have a very lovely face and you earned your wrinkles and silver hair with honour.To be honest: I also hate my photo taken and I often tear them up, but I noticed that my children don't like that, so I stopped doing that.

Amy said...

I adore all four, but I like one and four the most, I think.

Love the black turtleneck in #4 - reminds me of those famous pictures of Princess Diana :)

Kaye Barley said...

I think all four shows aspects of who you are, and I like them all.

#4 is the one I keep going back to though. It seems to say "wise woman" to me.

And Vicki - I think you under estimate how attractive you are. You have, for one thing, a very definite presence.

Let us know which one you choose!

Tipper said...

My favorites-are the first one and the last one-but they all look good : )

Anonymous said...

I love the first because of its candidness and number four because it looks like you might have almost smiled. They all convey a bit of "do I really have to do this?.

Kath said...

While I love the photo with your beloved home in the background, it speaks to what you write and share.
The one with the stained glass in the background seems to share the color and warmth of you and your writing.

But I have to agree that the last photo is just striking. There is a personalization in your direct gaze, that makes me think you are just about to talk directly to me.
So, it has to be the last.

And never mind that I am pea green with envy over your gorgeous hair. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

Vicki..........#4 without doubt. It is calm, even Sophia-like! You have always been lovely and elegant, even digging weeds.

Vicki Lane said...

Good grief! You all say the nicest things!

The pictures were taken at someone's else's house.

Deanna said...

I'm probably too late, but I'm going to give you my 2 cents worth anyway :)

I like number two because the background highlights your hair, and number four because it is like you are peering into our souls (or some nonsense like that).

There ya have it!

BTW you don't look anywhere near 67!

Southwest Arkie said...

All four are good shots, but I like #1 for the back of your books,(because perfect background) and #4 for book signings because it's you and just you.

J_on_tour@jayzspaze said...

Firstly I have to say that there are no photographical facial features significantly different from the others which is always a good start.
This is a tough choice as I would discount the austere number 2 in favour of the friendlier number 4. However I prefer the blue touch and even though I prefer a portrait looking away from the camera, it may seem a bit distant to your clients which leaves number 1.
number 1 or number 4, I suppose that depends on if you want to remind yourself and others about the background out of season. For me, the image portrayed in number 4 seems to suit your line of work best. Oh and by the way, I hate my photograph taken... but you knew that anyway !!

Tess Kincaid said...

Wow! Super shots, all! I think my fave would have to be the one with the window in the background. So nice. (I just took a bunch of myself, too, for my upcoming chapbook.)

Markin said...

Not that you needed yet another opinion, but -- #4. No ifs ands buts or maybes. If one absolutely wants blue clothing, that's what Photoshop can do, but I wouldn't change it. That last picture shows character, sense of humour, sense of inner balance. That's the portrait of a woman whom, even had I not known anything else, I'd like to get to know.