Every now and again, Garry needs a new “head shot.” Back in the old days, this was almost always a black & white head and shoulder pictures. Black and white because these were often inserted into newspapers which until lately, were all black and white (except for that special “Sunday Section.”) Passport pictures had to be black and white too and school pictures were always black and white. Now, though, with everyone owning a printer and some of us with pretty expensive printers, much of that work gets done at home. Me, I have an inexpensive printer and I never print photographs. I send photos out for printing. They use permanent ink, non-acidic paper, the right glue, and have it all back in my hands in a few days. Usually framed.

You would think that Garry, the man who was on TV for more than thirty years (he says 40, but I wasn’t counting his whole career, only the years he was on the air), would not have a problem getting his picture taken, especially by me since I pretty much always have a camera in or near my hands. If you point a movie camera at him, he’s ready to rock and roll, but for reasons he doesn’t understand either, he freezes in front of a still camera. It’s why I have so many pictures of him from the side or back. At least he’s relaxed.

Still, sometimes he really needs a new picture. He isn’t happy about getting older. None of us are exactly thrilled about it, but he looked young for so long, the realization that he ain’t young no more has struck him a bit harder than others. I suspect all performers deal with aging a bit differently than the rest of we mortals. I look at the lines in my face, imagine what a little minor fixer-upper face lift could do, then forget it and move on. How I looked was never one of my strong suits anyway.

Sometimes, you just need to see a face. Personally, I like his face and am always trying to find something he can say or do that will relax him enough so he smiles — really smiles — for the camera. A smile takes 20 years off his features. Tension doesn’t make you more lovely.

Usually I can cajole a grin or a giggle, but this time, he was balky, stubborn, and didn’t like the way he looked. Mind you, he looks younger than me despite being five years older.

Also, there’s a “good side, bad side” issue. His good side is where his cochlear implant is, so all his gear is stuck to his head on that side. I point out that it’s not exactly a secret that he doesn’t hear well. He has been wearing hearing aids his entire life, but this is not a day where commonsense is either common or sensible. And beside, the old aids were invisible unless you peered into his ear. These are firmly stuck to his cranium. I suppose he feel about them they way I feel about the implants that are sort of my breasts these days.

Garry Armstrong, Yiddish cook. Now THAT made him smile

Eventually, we get the photos done and he still decides to use a ten-year-old picture. He had more hair then. His hearing aid was invisible. Ah, vainglory! It is a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury, signifying that I’m going to do a lot of work for no special reason and he won’t even notice it. All those unemployed actors waiting for the COVID siege to end must be driving their families totally wacko. Where’s the audience?

I am the audience. I am the camera. It’s just me, baby. Just me. And the cameras.

Categories: Cameras, Garry Armstrong, Humor, Photography, portrait

Tags: , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. Garry always photographs well but especially when he’s smiling like in the last photo. I like the first one as well though, that’s probably my favourite.


  2. Great post, Marilyn. I love the last one for it is a genuine smile…you can tell it comes from happiness within! ๐Ÿ™‚Good to be back somewhat in the writing world. Been away since 2017. Check out catnip when you get time. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Wonderful post and portraits! Gary, love that smile… ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. You are a far better portraitist than I am — these are all good pictures of Garry, and from the combination one can get a pretty good idea of who the man is behind the face!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to be a lot better, but as we have all grown older, no one is really eager for the next photo. I used to do a lot of portraits for friends, but eventually everyone moved somewhere far away and more than few passed on. These days — when “these days” come again — I don’t pick up a camera. I want to jabber and laugh and hang with friends and not let the camera get in my way. A lot of the time, I regret it, too. I wish I HAD taken those pictures!


    • Slmret, thanks. I’ve NEVER understood my problem with posing for pics. It’s certainly contradictory given the more than FORTY years in front of cameras and microphones. The simple solution, as Marilyn knows, I have to have something in my hands or be photographed as I am doing something.

      It may be the answer why I succeeded most as a reporter in ad lib live shots, always in motion and ‘dancing on a dime’. I was much less successful as an anchorman, sitting at the desk and reading a script from the teleprompter.

      As a reporter, I was fully involved “in the moment”, not thinking about how I looked. I was often in the middle of chaos as a reporter and oblivious to how I looked. As an anchor, you are always aware of how you look, how you sound.

      Over the years, I drove the news department’s promotion department crazy when they had to take PR pics of me. Given all the crazy stories I had covered with appropriate on camera performances, they figured it should’ve been ‘easy peasy’ getting one or two decent headshots. I was such a ham it should’ve been no problem. Wrong, Jimmy Olsen breath. For some reason, I always FROZE when told to pose. They even tried using their most beautiful staff photographers to relax me. It still was a problem.

      Fortunately, there are less calls for head shots these days.

      How about a mug shot?


  5. Garry, you are still looking good. You wear aging well ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • I keep telling him: he’s still a studly dude ๐Ÿ˜Ž

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marilyn, you didn’t say THAT to me yesterday. I know I wudda smiled. Hey, I am grateful for your persistence in getting decent pics of a difficult subject. You’ll do.


    • Cee, thank you but I’m not sure about it. Yes, it’s vanity.

      I’m a retired TV News Reporter, for heaven’s sake. Vanity is part of the package. The trick is not to take it seriously.

      Something “civilians” don’t understand. When you work in front of a camera, when you are a performer (Yes, it goes with the territory. How many t’s in territory?), you are always aware of how you look. There’s the patting of the hair, quick check of the face (nothing on your teeth?), etc. You wouldn’t be doing your job if you didn’t check your appearance. Old habits die hard in retirement.

      Still doesn’t make it easy to get better still pics of me, I know.


  6. I like the first one the best. But all photos show a man you love! ๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Garry has an engaging smile and should be happy to share it with others. I have always been reticent to having my picture taken, and will still avoid it if possible. Virtual meetings are sometimes necessary, but I try to keep those to a minimum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You grew up in a performing world. Performers have a very different “take” on their appearance. The rest of us, however much we don’t care for the way we look, do a lot of deep sighing, then just do it. I think performers and people who hang out with performers, are much more attuned to the way they look. How they look on camera, under lights, on stage. It’s, I think, part of the package. I would have been a terrible performer. But at least I knew it before I tried ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, you get it. That’s pretty much what I said in an earlier comment here.

        There are some folks I know who are always smiling – as if perpetually ready for a photo op. That’s not me.

        The Yankee Doodle Dandy, James Cagney, confessed he wasn’t partial to PR pics, considered a necessary evil and had to force himself to smile. He offered that Cody Jarrett laugh after sharing that tidbit with me.



      • Interesting observation. I did a lot of Little Theater plays, and preferred doing comedy or old ladies when I was still in my twenties. My favorite was as the vilainess in “Dirty Work at the Crossroads,” a melodrama. If I had ever decided I wanted to be a professional actress, I would have chosen the stage.


    • Patricia, I knew you would understand.


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