Before I’d ever been photographed professionally, I didn’t realize I had a good side and a bad side. I figured I was just completely unphotogenic. My husband (in how-hard-can-it-be? mode) once took an entire 36 picture roll of film that we still refer to fondly as World of Potatoes. It was quite impressive to discover how much a human being can look like a potato. Thirty-six potatoes.

But thanks to a very patient photographer and half an hour on Mac Photobooth, I now know that I have one good angle. It’s what I believe is called an acute angle, ie, about nine degrees. Not much room to manoeuvre.

But if you’ve got a good angle, even if it’s a teensy angle, you can manage. Just.

On Irish Breakfast TV the other day, the camera was aimed precisely at my bad side. Given that there are 356 degrees of bad side, I guess it’s not that surprising. But it was sobering.

Most of vanity, I’ve noticed, lies in the terrible gap between perception and reality. We imagine that we’re pretty much the same as we were at 28, give or take a few minor details. This is, of course, a gross untruth, but one that can just about be sustained if you happen to own a darkish, flattering mirror and don’t ever stray into the swimsuit department of Selfridges.











Which brings us to the most sobering thought of all: Namely, that the photograph you find appalling today will look fantastic in ten years.

“Why didn’t I appreciate how great I looked?” you will ask yourself. And then you will sigh and go about your business, having learned nothing at all from experience.

And overlooking the bigger message.



15 thoughts on “My good side.

  1. bookwitch 7 years ago

    And which side is it? I favour your right.
    Me, I look bad from most directions.

  2. raych 7 years ago

    When I was 27 I thought to myself, Man, you looked AMAZING at 17. And at 37 you will think that you looked amazing now, so you may as well start thinking that you look amazing now while it’s still now.

    It sometimes works.

  3. Joanne Mallon 7 years ago

    oh wow that is so true about how photos always seem much better in retrospect. These days I will only be photographed via Hipstaprint, which makes everything look like a 1960’s album cover, a great look for anybody.

  4. Vivian Oldaker 7 years ago

    We all grow old; it’s better than the alternative.
    I have a serious problem with photos in that every time someone takes one of me – just before the shutter is pressed – an enormously fat woman with an unfeasible number of chins jumps in front of me. As a result I haven’t seen a photo of the real me for many years. No idea who this woman is….

    1. Meg Rosoff 7 years ago

      She does that to me too. Let’s hunt her down.

  5. Lesley Martin 7 years ago

    I LOVE the photo of the ‘mature’ Barbie; where did you get it? And Meg, I think you always look great in your photos.

  6. Mik 7 years ago

    Amazingly, there isn’t a single photograph of me in existence.

    1. Amanda 7 years ago

      So how do we know you are real?
      I LOVE potatoes.

  7. Kirsten Baron 7 years ago

    I make a point of always including one of the greyhounds in every portrait of me. It serves a double function: draped across my mid section, the hound conceals some of the largest areas, and also gives the viewer something to focus on. However, if I carry on with this diet, I’ll have to get a pack of Newfoundlanders soon.

  8. Angela Cerrito 7 years ago

    Your post has inspired my next post
    It will be about my grandfather when he was 89, his much younger girlfriend, how I ended up on the beach without a bathing suit and a possible photograph.
    I do get the bigger picture!!

  9. Helen 7 years ago

    Meg, you have no bad side!! And I should know, I’ve taken LOTS of photos of you! 🙂

    1. Meg Rosoff 7 years ago

      Ah, Helen. Have you had your eyes checked lately?

  10. Stella 7 years ago

    Mrs Potato Head is a great character in Toy Story though.

  11. Rachel Ward 7 years ago

    ‘World of Potatoes’ made me laugh out loud. Still laughing now. But I agree with Amanda – potatoes are the marvel of the vegetable world. What’s not to like?

  12. Mari 7 years ago

    Haha! I just went through this actually two days ago with my older sister. I wanted to get a new photo of myself taken for my first book that I’m self-publishing. But instead of getting a professional, my sister just said that she could easily take my picture. Well, we went outside and found a nice green area to snap a few photos. I soon found that I seem to only have one good angle, as well. Well, maybe half of a good angle when it’s a bit windy (which is was).

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