Headshots

So in the next year, I have two opportunities to do some presenting.  The second is in Vietnam next October, where I’ve been invited to teach a 4-5 day session on the book of Romans.  Having just completed/created a study of that book here at my congregation, I’m excited by the opportunity.  Now it’s a matter of working out logistics.  Figuring out how to finance and plan for my first trip across the entire Pacific Ocean to a place far more different from my own culture than anywhere else I’ve been?  Piece o’cake.  No worries in the least.

It’s my first presentation opportunity that is giving me headaches.  It’s in my home state at a conference I’ve attended for two years (partly, to be honest, because it’s in my home state).  This year I’ve volunteered to lead two sessions at the Best Practices for Ministry conference.  Creating two interactive sessions on jail ministry and small-congregation planning?  No problem.  Driving across the desert with the family as I’ve done so many times before?  No problem.

Getting a headshot?  Problem.

I have to get a headshot for the marketing for this event.  A headshot is just a photo of someone, usually from the shoulders or so upwards.  You see them all the time with articles or lists of speakers.  They show how confident, successful, attractive, and otherwise noticeable a person is.  Or at least I suppose that’s the intent.

I hate them.

I hate the idea of them because they feed our culture’s visual obsession.  We gauge our opinion of something and someone on what they look like, not on what they are talking about.  I want people to come to my sessions because they’re interested in the topic, not because of what I do or don’t look like.  Of course, that’s a cynical interpretation.  It could be that people don’t remember names very well, but when they see a photo of someone they remember who they are.  That certainly sounds like a less judgmental interpretation.  But I still hates it forever.

I hate headshots as well because I look like a dork.  Not having caved to the selfie sensation, I have never figured out how to direct my head in a picture soas to look normal, let alone professional.  I’ll cop to a bit of vanity.  I’d rather not be seen than be seen as a dork.  My solution to this dilemma thus far has been denial.  I’ve know about the necessity of a headshot for probably six months.  I was officially reminded about it a month ago.  The average 15-year old probably takes a billion selfie’s in an average week.  You’d think I could manage one in a month.  Ugh.

Maybe I should just drop out of the conference, and pray that the Vietnam invitation isn’t dependent on a headshot!

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5 Responses to “Headshots”

  1. Lois Says:

    I can take it for you if you can drop by the house some evening or weekend. How overdue is it?

  2. Lois Says:

    Unconventional, as in: in the dark? long shutter time with movement? back of head? Or maybe just strong side lighting with one side dark?

    • mrpaulnelson Says:

      Black and white, so, in the dark somewhat. Frankly, I’ve considered doing a riff on the selfie thing with my hand covering half the lens. Something that takes the focus off of me, as strange as that sounds.

  3. Lois Says:

    So, a low-key, high contrast black and white portrait the purpose of which is to obscure what you look like. I think I could do that. I only have one “studio” light, so some lighting creativity might be necessary. Black and white makes that easier, because the light doesn’t all have to be the same temperature (color-wise).

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