Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Learning to Smile
I found that I couldn't hold it for very long--probably less than a minute. It felt so unnatural, and the whole muscular apparatus began to twitch. I've had that feeling before, especially when posing for photographs, something I'm not very good at, and something I'd like to become better at, which I believe is at the bottom of the project I undertook there on the cross-trainer.
Not everyone smiles for photos. A character in my novel, who is a photographer, does not ask people to smile for portraits, and she says, "I always wonder who they think they're smiling at." Philip Roth is notoriously glum in his photos. I once read an interview with him, and the caption under the photos was "Why is this man smiling?" which of course, he was not.
Anyway, there's the whole business of thinking of a very happy time in your life, or something that makes you laugh your head off. There's the whole thing about making sure to involve your eyes, get that crinkle going, to make it authentic. There's a whole thing about how much to show of your teeth (although some concede that you need not show any teeth at all). Most seem to agree that one need not involve the bottom teeth at all.