The Inverse Law of Portrait Unusualness

I can't remember whether one of the old hands at News Interactive told me this during my brief stint of working for the Dark Lord Murdoch, or whether I came up with it myself. So I won't call it My Special Law Of Current-Events Publication Photographs, or whatever. But it does seem to apply most of the time. It is:

When you see a photo of a person in a newspaper or news magazine, the more outré the photo, the less interesting the person.

If the subject is at a sixty-degree dutch angle and leaning out over the balustrade of a purple spiral staircase amid a frozen shower of confetti, he will be the deputy manager of Accounts Receivable for Amalgamated Water-Based Bookbinding Mucilage, Incorporated, posing for a business-section feature about how AWBBM beat earnings estimates by 1.7%.

If the subject is just smiling at the camera from behind a low-maintenance beard, on the other hand, he's Steve Wozniak.

If the subject is only partially visible through the leaves of a potted palm and bathed in rainbow prismatic sunlight passing through a faceted lead-crystal recreation of Michelangelo's David, she was this month's top fundraiser for the church steeple maintenance drive.

If the subject is just standing there with her hand on a computer and a vague smile, though, she's Jeri Ellsworth.

Et cetera.

Application of this rule of thumb can get you through business and trade publications, in particular, a great deal faster, without missing a damn thing.

3 Responses to “The Inverse Law of Portrait Unusualness”

  1. Itsacon Says:

    I tried to apply this theory to you, but I could not get consistent results.

  2. alan_cam Says:

    If it's a picture of a beautiful woman, made up to lookas ugly as possible - it's [old] haute couture.
    These days, the women are so beautiful they look good in mud and a potato sack. the modern couture settles for making them look as silly as possible.

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