I popped out yesterday to get some passport pics taken. The local post office has a newfangled booth that takes digital photos. It takes four photos, and then you choose which one you'd like it to print four copies of. A good idea, but let down by the print quality - the resulting photo looks fuzzy and out-of-register. And - of course - there's that slack-jawed expression and lined-up-against-a-wall stare de rigeur for passport photos.
But this got me thinking - I've got a digital camera and a high-res printer and photo-quality paper. Why not take my own picture at home? I could take hundreds of shots till I achieved the perfect pose, with the minimum of wrinkles and blemishes.
And then another thought occurred to me. Why have any wrinkles and blemishes at all? If the government allows digital pics, what's to stop you retouching your photo?
Now, I wouldn't actually use this photo for a passport - it's too posey, too come-hither. But it's not a bad photo of me. Click on the thumbnail to see a bigger version. See? Not bad. But pity about that red blotch next to my eye and the red splotch on my head and that skin texture and those huge pores on my nose and those frown lines and those sunken cheeks and....
So I used Photoshop's cloning tool, erasing my blotches, reducing the redness of my nose, smoothing out fine wrinkles. But like anyone who starts having plastic surgery, I didn't know where to stop. I didn't just stop at airbrushing my skin. Soon I was doing a Michael Jackson, taking a fraction of my nose, making my face just slightly wider, some virtual botox, some virtual collagen...
See? Young again! OK, it's a bit fake, but - you know what - not fake enough. Real writers shift ton-loads of novels through the ridiculously alluring black-and-white or duotone photos on their book-jackets. What's to stop me having one on my blog? So, I present the Real me:
All that remains now is to offer my services on Gaydar. As photo-retoucher, image consultant and makeover artist, that is!