Thursday 8 January 2015

2014: A Year in Bad Portraits

Hello you.

So 2015's here [Happy new year!] and there's a lot of 'new year new you' type content doing the rounds online right now.

And while it may all be appropriate for those out there who are ready for something fresh, who have the energy for making plans and sticking to resolutions ... personally I'm still feeling some festive jet-lag.

So, just as I did this time last year, rather than share my shiny fresh new goals for a better and brighter me ... which would be both exhausting and quite probably utterly fictional [I have no idea of what my plans for this year are!] I think I know what we'd both prefer I shared right now ...
  • Something to make us both smile.
  • Something to demonstrates not everyone you visit online has it entirely together. Not even close!
  • Something that you can read through while still working your way through the chocolate / alcohol mountain you stocked up on for Christmas ... without feeling any guilt.
  • Something that has the comforting ring of recognition.
And if all that fails ... hey, you can just revel in the schadenfreude on offer, and have a good old laugh at my expense.  I don't mind ...

So here we go ...
I have a feeling that this retrospective of bad photos of me has already becoming A Tradition.

I blogged 'A Year in Bad Portraits' last January and all throughout 2014, whenever I spotted a horrific image in amongst my snapshots, I dragged it over into a folder reserved just for this occasion; and now here I am, ready to open up that folder to you!

[BTW: you're welcome to join me ... there are some rules at the bottom if you're feeling brave!]

I think that during this start of a new year, [which is also my birthday week], it's not a bad idea to look back over the previous 365 days with an honest eye and to move forward with a light heart. In fact, it seems almost as healthy a thing to do as all those detoxes and training plans those energetic people are blogging about!

So please, settle back with your violet creams and cherry brandy [just me?] and do enjoy this peek into my Bad Portraits file ...

January 2014: Start as you mean to go on ...
For the last few years James and I have taken a selfie shortly after midnight when the new year is just minutes old. Maybe in future we'll remember to check that we haven't got the full zoom on:
So yes, it's imperfect, and James has no eyes and I have no mouth but ... it's like I always end up saying: You don't get a second chance at a first photo.

[If this photo is familiar it's either because you've spent a lot of time staring at my nose or you saw this scrapbook page I made with it last year.]

May 2014: Why was there a 10 year old boy on our sofa asking for more wine ... oh , actually ... no, wait ... 
Yes that is me. On the sofa, in my comfies, with my hood up, wanting a top up of wine in a pose I'm calling: if Oliver Twist was a skater-boy.

I think it was the shock of the hood, rather than me asking for more wine [he's used to that by now], that caused James to reach for his camera to capture this stunning image. And yes, he did top up my glass, who could refuse that face?

May 2014: It could just be paper-snipper's cramp ...
Except ... it wasn't paper-snipper's cramp.

Back in the spring I was planning a blog post about how I construct my 'Snipped Tales' [short, short, stories / poems made from words snipped from old book pages] and I asked James to take some photos of me at work.

While I can't exactly recall what James had done to elicit such an ... expressive ... gesture from me I'm guessing this pose is something like: Stop trying to make me laugh because it'll blow all these tiny paper scraps everywhere!
It's typical that he usually takes forever to line up a shot and take a photo ... yet he managed to capture me mid-offence without any effort!

June 2014: Taking a moment to commune with nature ... and Bradley Wiggins ...
A sunny day, shortly after the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2014 passed through North Yorkshire and I paused in front of an allotment to get a photo of me with a papier-mâché figure of cyclist Bradley Wiggins [on the yellow bike over my shoulder].
I'm either really feeling the moment ... or else the sun's in my eyes.

Later that day ...

Note to self: when attempting to take a selfie while eating an ice-cream ... maybe don't shoot from below:
Because nothing says 'Great British Summertime' like having ice-cream coming out of your nose ...
July 2014: And I wonder why no one's ever asked me to help them name a clothing range ...
While this isn't an especially awful photo of me it does give me the opportunity to share with you an item of clothing that I refer to as [look away now if you're of a nervous disposition] my 'condom coat':
No matter how many nice new clothes I buy for our annual break in Lincoln, no matter how many carefully curated outfits I take with me, there's always a holiday snap of me, at the airshow, either in the rain, or shortly afterwards [it's England. It always rains when it knows you're going to be outside all day] looking damp and stoic ... in my condom coat.

Why is it called that I hear you ask? You mean apart from the fact that it's a fleshy coloured waterproof barrier that no one is ever going to wear to procreate in? Yeah .. you see my point?

 p.s: It also appears that Elton John photo-bombed me in this shot!

And, before we leave the airfield how about another photo that you can guarantee James will manage to take of me several times throughout any given year. Here's his now-traditional: quick, while her mouth's full she can't argue shot:
 July 2014: If you look into her eyes you'll turn to stone ...
The thing about this photo is I really wasn't angry, or in a mood, or about to punch someone when it was taken ... I wasn't even doing 'that look' ... but you could certainly be forgiven for thinking I was!  It was the kind of shot that, after glancing at it on the camera display, caused James to mumble something like "Ohhh ... you're going to love that one".

Fortunately ... knowing that I'll have a 'Bad Portraits' post to compile at the end of the year I'm now less bothered about appalling photos like this one; after all where would a 'Bad Portraits' post be without any bad portraits? 

I'm considering it 'material' from now on ...

September 2014: A wistful shot of us looking out to sea ...
... is what this was meant to be.

Yet this first attempt turned out more like: A couple trying really hard to work out one of those 'Magic Eye' puzzles:
 Then the second attempt reads more 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers':
And - same day, different humiliation - there's the time I channelled my namesake's second-in-command while eating fish & chips:
More failed selfies ...
I occasionally use the camera on James's phone when I've not got my camera handy. And one day, any day now, I'm sure I'll conquer the front-facing selfie lens:
Or maybe not:
And while we're still in selfie mode ...

December 2014: Because it's not really like you can/should lose weight from your skull ...
On Christmas morning I may have felt rubbish [with the flu] but that would be no excuse for looking rubbish on what should be the sparkliest day of the year and so ... with my hair and make-up done and wearing my oh-so-splendidly-silver silver dress I decided to take some selfies while waiting for James to get ready.

While looking for a flattering setting on the camera [with all the sneezing and the switching between sweating and shivering I needed all the soft focus I could find ... ] I came across an effect I'd never noticed called 'Slim' ... and I took the shot:
It's basically just done a cut and shut job on my head. In fact, I think my eyes have even lost weight here. From now on I'll just stick to holding the camera above my head and looking up into it while thinking svelte double-chin-banishing thoughts.

And for my final #BadPortrait of 2014 ...

Cut to a few hours later, at Christmas lunch, when the sneezing and sniffling had taken a toll on my eyes and given me a nose to rival Rudolph's. Merry Christmas everybody:

So, that was my year .. in Bad Portraits. No doubt there were more ... but I think you've seen quite enough for one day. But, if you're hungry for more  ... you could always share your own ...

I know what you're thinking: No way! Nuh-huh! Not ever! Count me out! And I know this because ... to my recollection ... no one took me up on my invitation to join in last time round!

But, for those brave enough [it is surprisingly freeing ... I'm just sayin'] ... here are the rules ...

#BadPortraits The Rules:
  • Only share photos of yourself! It's only fair.
But, that being said ...
  • Please only share photos of yourself that you can freely laugh at. This is a feature all about being in on and sharing the joke; setting yourself free from the pressures to present an idealised lifestyle. It's not in any way meant to encourage 'shaming' in any form.
  • Please go gently on yourself - if the photo of yourself doesn't make you giggle ... don't share it.
If you do share your #BadPortrait [whether that's via Twitter, Instagram, your blog, my Facebook page or on a screen in Piccadilly Circus ... do let me know and I'll pop by to see! [And laugh!]
  • So, here's to making 2015 a year in which even the bad portraits are good ones.
  • And here's to meeting back here in January 2016 to share them with one another!
Julie :-)


  1. No, I shan't be joining you this year either! Of course, i would of course but I pretty much delete them as soon as I see them lol LOVE the ice cream up the nose shot :) Thanks for your fun post and your great sense of humor and thanks to James for so often being the one to capture these lovelies.

  2. Lovel, love, love this idea and this post (off to look at last year's one now; I think I must have missed it in all the stress this time last year). Thank you! BUT I *cannot* believe you go out dressed in a condom coat, lady. I always look upon you for sartorial guidelines (cool colour combinations, sparkliness when fitting, cardis and scarves galore, zebras mixed in, using purple and looking good.....etc etc)...I never thought I'd see you in a condom coat....I'm going to start a "Buy Julie a new raincoat' fund....possible candidates include this one ( or this one ( or this one (which promises you'll "sizzle through the drizzle" - Yes: I *am* so concerned about this I took it upon myself to embark on a search for said new raincoat....I love you, lady, but, well in all the years we've known each other, you've never shivered my timbers before.

  3. P.S. Forgot to say that I've been laughing about your 'If Oliver Twist were a skater boy' line for about an hour!
    P.P.S. Go and find 'that' coat and DONATE IT.
    P.P.P.S. NOW!

  4. Mr P and I found the ideal way to take the perfect selfie of ourselves on Boxing Day - we wore paper carrier bags on our heads - I might just join you and share it on the blog - it did cause a few laughs on Facebook.

  5. After the rubbish week I've just had THANKYOU for making me laugh xxx

  6. I will now go and look at my pictures of last year - I am not in any of them except the ones with my great grandson and they are all fantastic!

  7. This has given me a smile! My Mum, who has never in her life shown any interest in having her picture taken asked me to take some pictures with my phone on Sunday. Then she asked if I could make her look slimmer. She reckons phone cameras add pounds!

  8. Ha ha. I especially like the one with ice cream coming out of your nose! I'll see if i can be brave enough to share a bad photo on FB!

  9. I hit the delete button as soon as a bad picture appears I'm afraid. Happens quite a lot! Love the ice cream shot especially.

  10. Thank you for sharing your bad portraits. You've really made me laugh. As with most of the other commenters, my bad portraits get deleted, immediately.

  11. Fantastically funny! Thank you so much for sharing as I'm still giggling now!

  12. So funny - thanks for the laugh, I won't be joining in as there are so few photos of me anyway because I am the one behind the camera most of the time. Maybe I should try selfies!

  13. Ha! Love it! That's the thing with digital though, keep going til you get a good one!


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