Pictures of... Me


An all-time favorite song: The Cure’s “Pictures of You.” (I’m showing my age.)

Frankly: I’d rather look at pictures of you—or anyone—than pictures of me.

Recently, I had new headshots taken. Alas, the photo I’d snapped with my cell phone at the sink of a hotel in McAllen finally had to go. (This change comes much to my flabbergasted father’s relief. He hated the old picture.)

My vice isn’t vanity and I’m no fashionista. Staring at photographs of myself to determine which worked best and which seemed the most “me” felt excruciating—and impossible.

Do I really look like this?


I enlisted a few friends and associates. Interestingly, no one I asked for guidance came to consensus about which ones to select.

Research indicates that we dislike photographs of ourselves because they don’t look like our most commonly seen depictions: our mirror images. Yet I don’t look in mirrors much. To the amusement of my team, I once sauntered around the office all day with a pen mark on my face.

At least in my case, we can’t blame the exposure hypothesis.

Yet we stand in the midst of an entire “selfie” phenomenon: People all over the world snap self-portraits and post them—voluntarily!—all over the Internet. All the time.

Do some people enjoy seeing self-portraits? Or should we credit a human need to document? Yet if we chalk it up to the drive to record, how do we explain a person’s need to take prime position in the documentation?

Is everyone but me vain? Can’t be.

What do you think’s going on?


Credit where it's due: My friend, the artist David A. Brown, shot my portrait session. I give him full credit for all resulting compliments and take complete responsibility for all criticisms. If you need a photographer for a portrait or an event, I cannot recommend David more highly.