I had planned to lay this topic to rest with Tina Owen’s great photo-response, just below. Then I came across the new issue of a magazine published by a state school’s alumni association—anonymity preserved to spare the editor, who may well have no say in the matter—with a cover consisting of 20 small photos of smiling people facing the camera. As my niece was fond of saying when she was 3 years old, Yikes! The same bad photos, of distinguished alumni, run again inside. Fascinated in a train-wreck sort of way, I paged through and found 50 more smiling-faces pictures. That makes 90 in a 56-page issue. In two group shots, the unfortunate front row of subjects has been forced to semi-squat in what a CIA interrogator would recognize as a stress position.
If you want to know how to do right by subjects looking at the camera, turn to page 28 of the new issue of Steve Saum’s Santa Clara Magazine and look at Charles Barry’s portrait of historians George Giacomini and Timothy O’Keefe. Well composed, perfectly lit, and appropriate for the story. It’s two old guys posed in front of bookcases, hardly an original idea, but it’s an excellent picture anyway.