Friday, May 6th, 2011

A New Author Photo; Or, My Hideous True Form, Revisited

The other day Viking asked me if I wanted to use my same author photo from The Magicians.

Now, I like that photo. It looks like this:

I had a professional photographer take it, because, hey, professional photographer, right? If I told you how much it cost you would reach through your computer screen and punch me in the face. But it was the cheapest professional option I could find.

It’s actually an outtake from the regular posed photo session — this is me laughing from the incredible pain of undergoing a posed photo session. I think my teeth got a little over-brightened in Photoshop — I look kind of like Ross in that episode of Friends where he has his teeth whitened. But I like it.

[I also like the photo on the bio page of this site (it’s from my “stubble” phase!). I didn’t use it on the jacket because I can’t afford the rights to it.]

But some media outlets and foreign publishers balked at that photo. They wanted color photos, or they zithromax 1000 mg online wanted something more conventional, where I was actually “looking” at the “camera.” My German publishers, for example, went a whole nother way. That’s a shot from the real posed photo session.

So when Viking asked me if I wanted to try something different for The Magician King, I said, what do you think of this:

This is me in Rome last spring, for a last hurrah before this happened. It’s just a snapshot. I’m standing on a bridge over the Tiber. The light is nice because it’s like 6:00 in the morning, and Sophie and I were both awake from jet lag. Plus it’s Rome, where the light is always nice.

Obviously it’s not a professional photograph. My face is in shadow, and the trees are kind of distracting, and there’s probably other things wrong with it that my amateur eye isn’t detecting. But the Vikings liked it. So I think we’re using it.

I’m making eye contact, at any rate. And it’s in color. And you can’t see my teeth.

12 comments on “A New Author Photo; Or, My Hideous True Form, Revisited

  1. Rita says:

    I think that’s a great picture. The coat/scarf/Rome combo gives you that air of…author-ness, you know? Guy who travels the world, stylishly, and writes about it.

  2. amybillingham says:

    I agree it’s a great pic of you (and the scenery)! Very stylish and yes, I like the author-ness of it.

    The fact that you are in shadow does bother me though.
    Fortunately, the magic of Photoshop could possibly mitigate this effect.

    I am by no means an expert, but in about 10 minutes I was able to lighten and brighten and I think maybe improve it.
    So maybe the Vikings have an expert who could take a crack at it.

    (I don’t know if there’s any way to post a photo here, so I’ll twitter it at you.)

  3. K.M. Walton says:

    For a dude who hates to be photographed, you photograph well. I like the shadow and the scenery. Call me crazy.

    When I got a quote for professional photos for my jacket I said to the husband, “Husband, you’re taking the picture.” And so he did. I like free and I actually really like the one I chose.

  4. Lisa Q says:

    It’s atmospheric and evocative and probably fits the book, not that I would know yet. Your German headshot is kind of outstanding, though. You look German in it.

  5. M says:

    nice nice 😀
    jonothan saunders took your photo on the profile page, jonothan saunders the designer?

    if so, that’s madness!
    i like both photos
    it depends on what you like i think

    i dont know if they still do that anymore but some people have the entire back of the book dedicated to their face

    it’s..pretty… something

  6. Leverus says:

    @Lisa I think they have a photoshop plugin for that now

  7. Jaimie says:

    Yeah, I can see why the Germans chose your German picture. Wait, am I racist for saying that?

  8. dennitzio says:

    It’s not just any auteur autheur who gets a blue halo!

  9. Melody says:

    I like this post about your photos. I think pictures can be both fun and important when appearing on a writer’s work.

    Personal Story about Author Photos: I remember I was at a writing conference once and there was a self-proclaimed “Publishing Doctor” who was going on and on about what authors should and should not do with their profile pictures. She was really making fun of people that she thought were doing things wrong, and she was hounding us about professional headshots. I wish I remembered her name, I would send her this link and say, “Look at his cool snapshot. It’s going on his book.”

    Thanks for blogging about one of those things that people can get hung up on. You’ve shed a little light on the process for me. This proves to me once again that, while I want to be professional, there aren’t any unbreakable rules.

  10. […] A New Author Photo; Or, My Hideous True Form, Revisited В« Lev Grossman May 6, 2011 … They wanted color photos, or they wanted something more conventional, where I was actually “looking” … […]

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