One of the best things about being a writer is that no one knows what you look like. Which means one’s appearance doesn’t distort one’s message. If a writer’s words resonate with the reader, then the reader will simply invent some friendly, benevolent mental image of the writer — one that is likely far more generous than their actual visage.
Those who peruse this site thoroughly have probably seen the small self-portrait sitting on my About page — a portrait that’s been there since the day this site began. I don’t believe its presence has substantially damaged my credibility. After all, web stats confirm that the bulk of my readers have never visited this page. But for those who did make the journey, I made certain to shoot a portrait that was as bland and innocuous as possible. The more I could resemble Mr. Potato Head, the easier it would be for readers to plug their own imagined features into my face. Also, as time passes, the advantages of having a photo that doesn’t age (while I do) are not to be discounted.
Because I enjoy both the relative anonymity, and the inverse Dorian Gray affect, I’ve been struggling with whether I should direct my readers to a video interview I gave last fall to the International Leica Society (and which was just recently published by the LHSA).
Truth is, I don’t recognize the guy in the video. It’s purported to be me. But the dude being interviewed has a beard — and my mirror reflects a clean shave. Plus, I’m reasonably certain I’m a suave, youthful, handsome, debonair, articulate and captivating raconteur. Yet the video portrays a fidgety, bumbling geezer with a distracting multi-regional accent of obscure origin.
Ultimately, I decided to go ahead and point my readers to this interview — he has a message that echoes my own, and I’m still pretty sure the guy isn’t actually me. And if he’s not me, then my anonymity is preserved. However, if he really is me (as some who know me have confirmed), then maybe it’s time to face the fact that I’m no longer the guy on my About page.
Whichever is the case, the warning remains the same: “Viewer discretion is advised.”
©2017 grEGORy simpson
ABOUT THE PHOTOS:
All the photos shown in the video interview have appeared previously on this website, so there’s no reason to regurgitate the technical info surrounding them. The video was shot, edited and published by the International Leica Society — an organization for whom I had the pleasure of addressing their annual meeting last fall (if you think 7 minutes of me is over-the-top, imagine watching me speak in front of an audience for an hour!). Anyway, Leica fans and aficionados should definitely check out their website. You kids with your new-fangled social media might prefer their Facebook page. This article’s sole new shot, “Lucha Libre”, was snapped with a Ricoh GR and is included as a literal representation of the title’s figurative meaning.
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