In this day and age, it's no secret that photos can lie. That's been true since the very dawn of photography as both a science and an art, but it's something that we are perhaps more cognizant of today.
We think of photo-manipulation in terms of Photoshop, but the truth is that the vast majority of the tasks made more accessible via computer-based editing were known and practiced in the days of chemical processing.
That is only one side of how a photograph can mislead of course. How a photograph is taken, and what an image evokes, can be its own form of misdirection or deceit.
Which brings us to today's picture, the first in a Picture Tells A Story post that I didn't shoot.
This picture of me, by the Worcester Massachusetts-based artist Needlestuck, presents a vision of me that simply isn't real. It was designed to make me look accessible and professional, in a way that would make me desirable to academic and corporate environments. Unfortunately, it's more than a little full of shit.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I can't comport myself professionally, and I'm as comfortable in a business or academic setting as I am at a sex event or pagan ritual. But the reality is that I'm not the guy pictured here, and never will be.
Even as my financial situation necessitates starting to look outside of the job and industry that I've worked in for the past several years, it's not the sort of thing that I can simply leave behind. Nor would I want to; I'm proud of what I've accomplished as an educator and event producer. Even so, I try not to be naive, and do understand that it will effect my future options in a variety of ways.
Likewise, as I've looked at writing jobs, the fact that the overwhelming majority of my writing is for LGBTQ publications or pagan blogs is hardly an asset. I remember many months ago submitting writing samples, mostly from Bilerico for a local newspaper job, only to find that the editor in charge of hiring was a highly observant Christian, who likely was less than amused by the content of my samples.
Beyond my career path to date, it's no secret that in a cutthroat job market my Tourette is a black mark against my chances of landing a job. When you look at Needlestuck's photo there's nothing to convey the fact that I constantly squirm and twitch and sometimes bark like a dog, or have many weeks at a stretch where I may speak with a different accent than my own.
Hell, in the "real" world I can't even wear a tie for more than a few minutes, for all that they look good on me. My broken C-7 vertebra makes it quite painful to do so, and the tight collar of a fully buttoned shirt makes my dystonic neck and shoulder tics even more unpleasant than normal.
Yet I keep this sort of photo around, and in fact it can still be seen on my website. Pictures may lie, but these are the kind of lies that we sometimes have to tell the world, and even ourselves, if we are to get to where we hope to go.