Looking at the regal Queen Skittles in her gorgeous frockery -- bought at thrift-tastic Aardvark's of Pasadena, her official clothes provider for the upcoming Doo Dah Parade, which she shall soon reign over -- we got to thinking about the formal portrait. Maybe it was because official portraits were in the news earlier today -- President-elect Obama sat for his (which was taken by a digital camera, a first, and a very cool first at that) -- or maybe because we're forever looking for little ways to push life a little further, a little higher, a little better.
Not that sitting/standing for a formal portrait is "little" in any way. There's the photographer to hire, the assistants, the clothes, the pose, and of course, a marvelous, photo-ready setting. But unless you're invited to be on a magazine, in a parade, or you're voted president, there are very few reasons to dress up and let someone take a really good picture of you. So many pictures now are so very informal, taken on the fly. Sigh.
We say, let's change that. Bring back the oversized wicker chair of high school photos past. The single rose in a vase (we absolutely love when people smell flowers in pictures, don't you?) on a nearby table. The tennis racquet held casually over one shoulder. The soft focus and the steady gaze. Then everyone gets a formal portrait and frames it and hangs it proudly on the wall over the couch.
Benefits: Self-esteem. Something to show off to guests. And a visual reminder that you really are all that (so important as we head into '09). Oh, and get a ton of wallet-sized pictures to hand out to every single person you know.