I recently engaged in correspondence with a good blogging friend. It was about the inclusion of a personal portrait on a blog, book jacket, or any other form that made the image publicly available. He was wary of including his photo, feeling that it made identification so much easier, and with that, the potential for confrontation. In response, I argued that readers often like to have a mental image of the author of the work that they are reading, although I had to agree that humans are prone to make suppositions about character from a fleeting glance at an image of a person.
I have only ever posted two photos on this blog, and neither of them were of me. I perhaps had a worry that readers might be put off, by unexpected or disliked features. Since the exchange of e mails with my friend, I have continued to dwell on this subject. As someone who has laid out their entire life history for anyone to read, as well as expounding extreme opinions on many issues and subjects, why would I balk at showing a personal photo? Was I worried that followers and readers would desert my blog, as they were unhappy with my appearance? It all started to seem a bit silly, and self-conscious: perhaps even a little precious.
So, here I am, with my oft-mentioned dog, Ollie. The photo was taken on the North Norfolk Coastal Path, in the early summer of 2013, so it is still fairly current. I even had the same jacket on earlier today, so little has changed. Of course, many of those who read my blog know me very well already. To them, this image will hold no surprises. Others in my blogging fraternity have seen this previously, sent privately in e mails. For the rest of you, I hope that it wasn’t too much of a shock.