The Head Shot
Updated: Oct 2, 2022
The head shot. Every author needs one. Be careful with that phrase, though, for you could be inviting a sniper’s bullet to the head. At times, of course, every author feels in need of one of those as well.
The potential confusion reminds me of the time I asked a 7-11 clerk for “Mexican Coke.” Except he thought I was asking for “Mexican coke,” the powder, not the original Coca Cola product still made with real sugar south of the border. A prolonged blank stare ensued.
Anyway, my last head shot was taken in 2009. That’s too long ago. Not that I look older now. I mean, I was bald then and am bald still, so that hasn’t changed. In fact, judging from the stubble on my scalp, if my hair miraculously returned it would be as white as Mexican coke, leaving me looking far more wizened than I already do.
I do have a 2013 photo (see above) taken by my good friend Steve Houston during a talk I gave at Austin’s Book People. In it, I am smiling and looking off to the side, giving folks a good look at the small mountain that is my nose. My smile gives the appearance that I was enjoying myself, which I was. I always enjoy talking about my books. What author doesn’t?
Chuck Palahniuk once said, “Get author book jacket photos taken now, while you’re young.” Too late for that. I mean, there’s a Medicare card in my wallet, and it’s mine. So, having missed that particular boat, I decided to risk the old geezer shot. Besides, there’s always Photoshop.
Steve was kind enough to come over to my house for a photo shoot. He showed up with approximately two tons of gear, most of which he never pulled out of the bag. In fact, many of the photos were taken with a camera that fits in the palm of the hand. And they were great.
There’s two ways a photo can be great. The first involves perfect technical execution on the part of the photographer. Perfect lighting, perfect focus, perfect exposure, perfect framing. All of Steve’s shots fit that description. The second involves the subject looking fabulous. Let’s just say that Steve is an excellent photographer and leave it at that.
Out of all the shots Steve took, I narrowed it down to two. One is shown below and now appears on my website. The other remains in Photoshop limbo awaiting Steve’s efforts to dull the reflection from my shiny scalp.
Oh, and I plan on leaving the 2013 candid shot on my website’s home page. After all, I was younger back then.