Today I had a friend, Travis, a pro photographer, take some pictures of me in his vaguely Hannibal Lecter basement studio to send to my agent to go along with the press stuff that'll be going out with the news of the sale of my two books. I suppose I could have just taken a couple of shots with a borrowed instamatic in the park, but I figured I might as well get someone to do it (for thirty quid) who actually knows what they're doing.
It's a strange process, very unreal. You're asked to move your head here, your eyes there, and the feeling is one of being in a very unnatural pose. Against my expectations, the photographs (Low-resolution previews on a digital camera screen, the expensive type) looked fairly natural, though unsurprisingly, posed. My favourite - though not necessarily the one I'd send to the agent - should have a subtitle along the lines of, 'writer by day, detective by night'. Sort of looking over the back of my shoulder at the camera, with the collar of my jacket up. Very Hollywood.
The other interesting thing about having your pictures taken with all these powerful lights shining in your eyes is that when you see the end result, it's an unavoidable reminder that you're really not young anymore. I'm 38 in a couple of months, and looking at some of those pictures I felt every one of those years. I came away from the shoot with a certain determination to lose weight and get more exercise. At least the good weather is coming in, so I have no excuse not to get out of the house and go cycling at least a couple of times a week.