HOW TO LOOK TERRIBLE IN PHOTOS : Lesson 1

     I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am somewhat of a master at looking as shitty, fat, and lame in photographs as is humanly possible.

     And now, I'm finally ready to start sharing my secrets with you!

     See this nice picture of me and my awesome friends (note: their faces have been anonymized because I have not obtained signed legal permission forms from them) from the junior high school I worked at for 12 years:

   

     I'm second from the left. I look terrible here, thank you for noticing, but now let's tighten our focus.

     I'm partially behind two other people, but I still made the most of my terribleness. Let's examine the details and tricks...

     Part of what makes me look so huge is the slight angle at which I'm standing:

     If I'd been facing the camera directly, or standing completely sideways, perhaps-- Oh, fuck it, who am I kidding?

     As we zoom in, let's examine the hair and the forehead:

     I made sure to stand so that I was mostly in shadow, except for a ray of sun blasting down at the very top of my head, where my hair is bleached blond, which gives the effect that my hair is possibly thinning or patchy. It's a trick of lighting, but most effective.

I also kept raking my hair back, to expose the absurdly broad expanse of my shiny, sweaty forehead. This creates a blinding confusion of high sweaty forehead and frizzy-looking bleached hair, possible patchy, so that you aren't sure which blurs are forehead, and which are hair. But it's all bad. If I had let my hair fall even partly across my forehead, it would have been less harsh. But I am ever vigilant in making sure all photos of me are gross.

     Let's move on to what should be the jaw & neck area. As you study the image below, can you say for sure where torso blob meets head blob? Can you locate a jawline?

     On America's Next Top Model, Tyra always admonishes the models to "find the light." By using the opposite tactic here, I have managed to obscure any hint of definition. Keep your head at a soft weird angle with your neck and torso, and make sure no light finds any planes you might have on your face. This will create a grey wash of shadow, like a London pea soup fog to render all trace of jaw and neckline invisible.

     BONUS TIP: Notice the extra-wide neck of the oversize T-Shirt I'm wearing. Combined with the wash of shadow, this adds to the illusion (or harsh truth?) of "snowman physique."

(Snowman Physique: head like a ball plopped on top of other bigger ball. Not relegated to winter.)

     Now for the cheeks:

     Am I a chipmunk? Have I stuffed my cheeks with food? It certainly looks that way! But in reality it's only a squinty-eyed puff-cheeked smile that turns my head into a pear. A very large, very ripe pear.

     As an exercise, try watching yourself smile in a mirror. Smile as big as you can, to create as much distortion as possible. Make sure it's asymmetrical, and hard to tell if your eyes are open or not. Got it? THAT'S your photo smile! ;)

     Finally- the stomach! Where does it end, right?! I mean, look at that:

     There are several factors in play here. 

     One is the slight angle of my stance.

     Another is the fact that I'm standing just behind two people, making sure that neither the left side nor the right side of my form are visible.

     And notice you can't see either of my arms. I could have at least held my right arm down at my side, to create a boundary to my girth. But with both arms seemingly missing, it's just all stomach/waist/torso/mystery.

     Well, that's enough for now. I hope you were taking notes. If you are diligent and practice these tips, you too can turn every photograph into a major disappointment for all involved!