Monday 6 January 2014

2013: A Year in Bad Portraits

Hi you. I'm starting a new tradition ... and you're welcome to join me ... if you dare.

Over the last few weeks I haven't been able to turn around in Blogland without falling headlong into any number of  '2013 in photos' year-in-review type posts. And the very ubiquity of them almost led me to putting one together myself ... but then I thought:

"But ... I blogged my Month in Numbers 12 times during 2013 [and in 2012, 11 and 10 for that matter] complete with photos ... so, if I did summarise my whole year, I'd only be repeating myself. There's really not much my online visitors haven't seen."

And that's when I heard it.

A little mischievous voice in my ear. A sort of juvenile devil on my shoulder whispering ...

"Well ... they haven't seen every photo of you Julie. What about all those ones you didn't tweet, blog, Facebook?

The ones that didn't pass the usual criteria.

You know the ones I mean? The unflattering ones, the ones where you look freaky, weird or possessed. Or all three at once.

The ones you never thought you'd show anyone ... there's always those. People would like to see those you know?"  

And it wasn't wrong about that.

When I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was considering posting an 'out-takes' type post where I'd share some of my less-than-perfect selfies and portraits well ...

... let's just say the idea received a fairly enthusiastic response from which I'm surmising that those who replied are either:

[a] being selflessly supportive of my blogging ideas ... or else ...
[b] they just reeeeeeaaalllly wanted to see me looking ridiculous.

Which seemed fair enough to me.

I'd have said the same if they'd been suggesting it!

Who wouldn't?
January 2013: 'I'm ready for my close-up now. Oh my. Now that is close isn't it?'
I'm happy to admit that throughout my entire time online I have - and will unashamedly continue to do so - shared photos of myself looking what I consider my best. [Or looking 'passable' at the very least!]. And I will happily go on taking new profile pics etc which are shot from a flattering angle; in good light; preferably behind a light blanket of make-up ... and with just the merest of photo-editing tweaks going on afterwards too!

So, yes, you could say I make an effort to present myself in a good light [literally] yet, what that giggling, perverse, little voice in my ear made me realise is: I enjoy sharing life's imperfections with you and [hopefully] raising a giggle even more and so ...  

... while this was initially meant to be a reflective post, to round-up an old year ... instead, here it is,  as my first real blog-content of the year. A post in which I'll dance like a monkey [metaphorically speaking that is. Come on now, leave me with one scrap of dignity in tact will you?] for your viewing pleasure.

Let's consider this as me starting as I mean to go on shall we? 

For the record ... and with some regret ... let me assure you that none of these were meant to be 'funny' photos at the time they were taken. That just happened naturally ...

May 2013: New hair cut, new dress, the end of a lovely meal to celebrate our anniversary, I had nothing in the world to be worried about ... not that you'd ever guess any of that from this look:
In modelling circles I believe this pose is referred to as 'the anxious guinea-pig'.
July 2013: Weekend break; unusually [for a British Summer] we had glorious sunshine and actual heat!
Which was great for my spirits and my vitamin D levels ... but less amazing for my hair
Here the humidity wreaked havoc with my locks leaving me looking less 'English rose' and more 'American rock guitarist from a 1980s hair band':

August 2013: This may have only been taken 5 months ago ... but already it's raising a questions to which I just can't recall answers. Questions like 'Why did I take my camera to the restaurant toilet with me in the first place?' [let's all hope it was just in my bag with me] but, more importantly: 'Why am I looking so utterly, nay - insanely - delighted about being in a public loo?'

p.s: that lovely lady who looks appropriately wary of being trapped in a small space with me is my sister. You didn't think I'd randomly take an insane photo of myself in the toilet with a stranger did you? What do you take me for? ...

October 2013: Thinks to self: 'I'll capture this glorious autumnal blue sky and sunshine with a nice selfie of me in the foreground with Mam behind. It'll be charming.'  Or, y'know ... I could just look evil instead ...

November 2013: This is a slight twist on the 'anxious guinea-pig' look I was seemingly so good at last year. What can I say? It comes naturally to me.
Also ... when I was taking up the hem of my dress I tested out the new length by sitting, standing and bending but the one thing I forgot to check was how short it would be should I ever get spun around while dancing with my aunty. I'll know next time.

And finally ... ever since I met James he's had a habit of snatching a photo of me while I've been eating. Mid-bite.

His excuse is that it's the one time when he can guarantee that I'll:
  1. be sitting still long enough for him to get the exact shot he's seeking and
  2. be unable to complain to him about how long he takes to set up the shot!
Hence our albums are peppered with countless charming portraits like these. Ones where you can never quite be sure if that food is just going into ... or just making its way out of my mouth ...
Pleasant no?


Then you're really not going to like my final #Bad Portrait of 2013.

If I can pass on one tip; one nugget of advice I've gleaned from looking back over my Year in Bad Portraits then it's this:

May 2013: Don't, under any circumstances, allow a camera anywhere near you while you're attempting to eat tagliatelle in public ...
... unless unlike me, you're happy with the idea that it could result in there being a photo in  which you'd look something like a tortoise in the throes of passion!
Don't ever say I don't provide a public service here!
So, I hope you enjoyed my Year in Bad Portraits but hey ... don't think you're getting away with things that easily!
I'm seriously asking you to consider either:
  1. going back through your photo files for 2013 to share some of your own finer moments too OR ...
  2. Go right now and put "2014: A Year in Bad Portraits" on your calendar as a 'thing to blog' for December this year, I have, then in 11 months time we can hold each other's hands while we bare all.
  3. [Edited to add: You know I'm only talking about those photos which you are happy to laugh about don't you? I'm really not suggesting you post anything that makes you feel bad about yourself ... I wouldn't want that at all.] 
And if you just can't bring yourself to share a ropey old shot of yourself then ...
  • how about at least leaving me a comment today?
  • even if you don't leave me another all year;
  • just to let me know you that you saw and [maybe] smiled. How about it? 

Happy 2014 everyone. I know we'll never make it a perfect year ... but how about we try to wring out a laugh from those imperfections whenever we can? Deal?
Julie x   


  1. what a sterling collection - I particularly like the evil reaction to blue skies

  2. You've got absolutely no chance!

  3. These were great! The Greatest thing was your description in each!!

  4. Hilarious! I all mine fall into 'not for publication' category.

  5. Hilarious! I all mine fall into 'not for publication' category.

  6. Brilliant! I love your descriptions too. I think my favourites are the evil blue sky one and the tagliatelle shot.

  7. These did make me chuckle. I'm usually the one wielding the camera and so safe! But I will have a look. I'll definitely be up for a Dec 2014 post ;)

  8. Julie,
    These are hilarious!!!
    I have to admit to deleting this type of thing as soon as it shows up in my camera!
    Maybe I'll change that for 2014. . . will have to think about it.

  9. oh. my. goodness! i almost chocked on my ice cube at that last shot and accompanying remark. you. are awesome.

  10. Loving this idea Julie, and your anxious guinea pig pose is fab. I think I may just save those iffy photos instead of deleting them :)
    C xx

  11. I'm doing a 52 Self Portrait challenge this year so I am sure I'll have a great selection of outtakes from it as I kind of suck at selfies.

  12. Brilliant, I love it and have to confess to twice taking my camera into the loos in a restaurant!

  13. that was a fun post but I hate my picture being taken at the best of times as I am so unphotogenic so I am definitely not going to be joining in this one! Will be fun seeing other people's contributions....brave people!

  14. I defiantly saw and smiled :)

  15. Had to ipad has never crashed and what happened when I got down to the second photo? It crashed!!!!!!! It was obviously offended by the content!!!!

    Love your idea.....hating on all this perfection you see in'll be a perfect antidote! Can't wait to see've made me laugh so much already with just this on post.....loved your mini mini skirt from your Auntie's twirling!!!!! (That's never happened to me - honest!).....

  16. Brave you Julie, but let's face it we all have plenty of those. I love that you have put yourself out there and taken the lead. Thanks for making me smile today, high five!

  17. Oh dear! I'm typing this as I wipe away tears of mirth, such an excellent collection of flattering photos, my fav is the American rock goddess shot.

  18. These had me laughing so hard! That last one is just wonderful. You have inspired me to go through my folders looking for similar photos although I don't know whether I am brave enough to post them online! Thank you for bringing a smile to my face this morning.

  19. Very brave! And you have certainly got me thinking..I don't take enough pictures of myself to have that many out-takes. But I have finally upgraded my phone to one which will take photos of me, so maybe all that is about to change

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  21. i cannot tell you how much this has cheered me. late 2013 i decided that in 2014 i would become a faithful disciple of this blog. i would do the number and push up bra things and now 2 days in this!!! brilliant.

    i'm bev, pleased to meet you

  22. I saw, I smiled, I commented. I don't always do what you tell me to. But I do enjoy visiting your blog space.

  23. Utterly hilarious and insanely brave. I've never heard of the anxious guinea look till now

  24. Smiled? I laughed my socks off. Especially when I got to the one about the hem of the dress. This post was priceless Juiie and I am tempted to go back and see what I can find now!

  25. Oh Julie! This post is sooooo funny AND like many already said, very brave. Thanks for livening my day (and quite possibly my month! Hehe!). I may join in come December but one thing I have discovered already is that a 64-year-old woman should not attempt "selfies!" Haha!

  26. Love this idea! I too have been toying with the idea of how to include more "real" posts on my blog/instagram/facebook etc. Not overtly horrible, but just more 'real life' moments. This is such a perfect example. I so want to do this now!! Thanks for your honesty, courage and hilarity ;-)

  27. You clearly deserve a medal for honesty and courage! Though I confess to a liking for the anxious guinea pig look ... :).

  28. Oh, Julie, your sense of humour is just so fab! Between the combination of the restroom and beach photos, I was nearly weeing myself! It takes a seriously strong person to laugh at themselves in this way - well done. :)


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