Smile for the Camera, by Deb Emily

Emily Winslow by Jonathan Player Jonathan Player took this photo, in our (very orange) living room. I totally lucked out that he caught a moment with such strong sunlight and with my head positioned just so. I don’t usually spend my days looking serene and luminous. I’m *thrilled* to have it, but I fear that if I ever tried to use this pic on the flap of my book as impromptu identification, no one will believe it’s me.

I also did a shoot (with Helen Bartlett) on the grounds of one of the colleges where the book is set. I made a lousy mess of my hair that morning. I tried hot rollers when my hair was still damp and…well, there are strange cowlicks that emphasize my gray. I also made the mistake of failing to employ a “shaping garment” underneath my sweater. The resulting lumps put a few otherwise good pictures out of the running.  These look a lot more like “me.”

EmilyWinslow in the Magdalene Fellows' Garden, by Helen Bartlett

EmilyWinslow in front of Pepys Library, by Helen Bartlett

EmilyWinslow in the Magdalene Fellows' Garden, by Helen Bartlett

(In that last one I look totally weird but that cool mask in the ivy is arresting!)

In both of these shoots I wore sweaters I bought at the new John Lewis store in downtown Cambridge. (You don’t see much of the sweater in the first pic, but I think its bright blue really adds something.) I’d been in a complete panic over what to wear, and they have an amazing free service where an employee with taste will take an appointment to shop with you. She didn’t pressure me at all, combined my preferences with her experience, and set me up with this sweater in three flattering colors, to go with trousers and a coat I already had. Her name is Dolly and she’s terrific at her job. (Thanks, Dolly!!)

You know something I love about living in the UK? They don’t make fat people shop in fat stores. As much as I like shopping in Lane Bryant back home (they really do have nice clothes), I really would rather have gone into the Limited or Express (which are all owned by the same company as Lane Bryant) and just seen the same clothes in ALL sizes. Why is that so hard?

Here, I can shop in all the big department stores, and not in a plus-sized section, either. I can just walk up to a rack, and they go up to my size. Rule Britannia!

13 Replies to “Smile for the Camera, by Deb Emily”

  1. Lovely photos, all! You are a natural, and you’ve definitely perfected the art of the closed-mouth smile. I was very interested to see some of the authors Jonathan Player has photographed — wow. And it’s easy to see why Magdalene College captured your imagination.

  2. It is so very difficult, isn’t it, when a photograph needs to capture the essence of who you are all without caption or monologue by the subject… especially a photograph so weighted as your first official author pose! All are very distinct and beautiful picturing you in a second of time that cannot be replicated.

  3. Robin, very well-put, and I agree! All those photos make me want to get to know the writer, Emily Winslow. Bring on THE WHOLE WORLD!

  4. Hey Em! Ok, I love all those pics and do not see any “lumps” (or gray, for that matter…). But if you ever find yourself dwelling too much on imagined lumpiness, you should definitely check out (if you have not already) Alanis Morisette’s parody of the song “Ma Humps,” which is:

    A. Hysterical
    B. includes the phrase, “lovely lady lumps.”

    It cracks me up every time. But what makes me roll around on the floor laughing even harder is the fact that it is a parody of the Black Eyed Peas song, so “lovely lady lumps” is an Actual Lyric in the original – that some Music Executive Guy thought was totally OK as lyrics go. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Ok, sorry, just had to let that out.

  5. Aw, thanks, everyone! Posing for a pic is really weird experience for someone whose preferred work environment involves pajamas and no other people in it 😉

    Alicia–Yes, isn’t Jonathan Player’s portfolio impressive! I wouldn’t have had the nerve to “hire” him; we met while he was taking architectural photos for an article about our house, and he snapped some of me at the end. He’s a lovely, really kind person. (For those who haven’t clicked his link: he’s photographed JK Rowling and John le Carre. Oh my!)

    Mary–I cropped out my lovely lady lumps 😀 (Some rolls were there *just* under the crop at the bottom of photo number three, the one in front of the building…)

    Robin and Joelle–Photography is a tricky and wonderful art, isn’t it.

  6. I agree, I think all the pics are wonderful, but the “official” one is indeed the prettiest. You have a lovely serene smile! Very writerly.

    Also, I like your glasses.

    Also also, I think it’s a scandal you can’t find clothes in your size in Express etc. here! Grrrrr. Ridiculous.

  7. Hey, I can’t see the bright blue either!

    All the shots are nice and add something different to your personality. One shows a touch of humor, one makes me think the person is inquisitive and one looks like someone who has depth, reach, lofty thoughts (all the writerly virtues!).

    But I think the Player shot captures the intrigue. I do think it’s the money shot. Not for prettiness (all feature plenty of that), but for the Mona Lisa quality captured. Intrigue, definitely. Like Rembrandt or Da Vinci, Player captured the essence of what makes your life force.

    Interesting photo essay. Thanks for posting!

  8. Oh, you think? I have a friend who calls it my “mean look.” Ha! If you were listening to the things I was listening to, you’d look pretty serious, too! And thanks to Julio Jimenez for taking that shot. If you’re in Texas and need photos, message me and I’ll send you to him. Great shooter.

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