Saturday, 1 May 2010

oh yes, the camera does lie

For as long as I can remember, I've hated being photographed. My best friend couldn't claim I'm photogenic (my passport was once returned to me at Customs with the words 'I'd change that, it's doing you no favours'): let's just say there's a reason this blog is illustrated by a picture of a road.
So when Grazia magazine said they wanted to shoot me for an article I'd written about what it was like giving up my Proper Job, I just hoped it would all be over quickly. What follows, folks, is the truth about what it takes to turn a haggard old crone into the Grazia-fied stranger in this week's edition. And no, the lovely mac is not really mine. Sob.
That one oh-so-natural picture took a team of five (photographer, photographer's assistant, stylist, makeup artist, shoot stylist) half a day to create. They arrived, trailing two rails of clothes and a high street's worth of shoes, just as the builders were fitting a new door to replace the one wrecked in the burglary. I think it's fair to say ruralshire builders are not used to the fashion world.
Nor, I'm fairly certain, were the sensible matrons out walking their dogs nearby who rounded a corner to find me poncing across the river meadows in (borrowed) designer labels trailed by the full Grazia entourage, with the makeup artist dashing forward every five seconds to top up my lipgloss, while I tried vainly to look as if I was just out for a stroll.
Freddie was a little confused ('Why are we going for a walk but not walking anywhere?'). The dog let itself down by licking the camera. And the lovely Paul & Joe dress didn't quite zip up my non-model back: thank God for that mac, really.
Still, the end result is about the only photograph I've ever seen of me that I quite sort of like. The bad news is that left to my own devices, I look absolutely nothing like it.
Oh, and my son keeps asking loudly in public places when 'the makeup lady is coming to do you again'....


  1. Is there any chance you can send the Grazia team over to do me?! Like you, I hate being photographed. Only yesterday I was flicking through some old folders on the computer and realised there were actually very few photos of me - they are all of the kids. Guess that's inevitable when you have children.

  2. Love it! Imagine what your neighbours must be thinking about you now! It's a bit mean that they didn't let you keep the mac.

    As a single parent, there are almost no photos of me with my girls, being the photographer means you just take them of the children (and dog). Note to self: must train dog to use camera.

  3. I think you should post the Grazia-fied picture on your blog!

  4. I found this blog after reading the grazia article and am now quite disillusioned to think you may not look like that all the time ;o) Sounds like a grazia stylist is what we all need when out and about - my entourage normally consists of a tired toddler, shouting "biscuit!" or "me too" every two minutes... Yours sounds far more fun, Lucy

  5. glad it's not only me who is absent from the photo album - it's usually me behind the camera so the majority of the pictures ever taken of my son are either of just him, or him plus his father/grandparents/someone else! I've resolved to get over the cameraphobia and be in more of them, if only so that he realises he did actually HAVE two parents....

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  7. I can't get Grazia over here in NY so I won't be able to see your lovely glammed up picture. I hope they gave you lots of glossy copies to frame.

    I was photographed for Pregnancy & Birth magazine while pregnant (a friend worked there); nice picture but I have never worn so much makeup in my life and really didn't look like me....

  8. My two sons wonder why we do not have one single photo of their Mama - let's face it I would be saying grazia, grazie, prego, merci, gracias and so on for the rest of my days for a vaguely workable photo - not going to happen, Enjoy, Paul & Joe comes up small - trust me I know xx

  9. I'm missing from most of our family holidays, I was there, but my partner can't be bothered (sorry, is too busy looking after the kids) to take any photos.

    I was horrified one day when I dropped in at his office to find a holiday photo proudly displayed on his desk - of me, lounging awkwardly (is there any other way?) on a blow-up alligator in the pool in Italy. How could he? Admittedly it was the only photo of me on that holiday and the alligator hid most of the offending lumpy bits...

    We had a family portrait photo taken a few years ago, much against my better instincts - my only stipulation to the photographer: please don't make us roll around on a white floor laughing and smiling because we're not that sort of family. The resulting photo of the five of us is actually quite pleasant to look at. Didn't order any large ones though, they were 600 flipping quid. So if Grazia offer you a few prints for free, grab em with both hands!

  10. That sounds great - the only photos I like of me are ones where I'm looking away from the camera ... not ideal really

    Make sure you get some copies to keep

    And most importantly when are you hitting the newstands???

  11. You look really very lovely in Grazia, nevermind the team effort taken to get there. I don't think it would hurt to change your hack photo on Twitter to one from that shoot. Apart from the fact that you look lovely, it seems a more honest reflection of where you are now, instead of just using the same old guardian photo.