There are exceptions to prove the rule, naturally. In my late teens and early twenties, my best friend owned a magic digital camera that was ONLY capable of making me look magnificent. Post-hangover, mid-sweaty night out, it mattered not - any photo of me taken with that particular camera was fantastic. I should have stolen it.
And now that I work in a field heaving with professional photographers, I've learned that the pros can also make me look half-way decent. But years of looking awful in pictures have turned me into a Person Who Poses. If I'm not going to look attractive in a photo, I may as well get in on the joke early by hamming it up and looking as silly as possible, right?
Which is an incredibly long-winded introduction to my defense of the photograph you can see attached to this piece, which was taken as part of a photoshoot I did with a Dutch Formula One magazine.
the photos could be seen as a statement on female sexuality in a male dominated profession
I was shocked. The only direction I had taken during the shoot was when the photographer asked me to move left or right. All of the poses were my own, and resulted from my natural tendency to ham it up before a crowd. We shot in the Shanghai paddock and pit lane, on a Friday evening as teams were completing work on their cars before the final practice session on Saturday morning. There were a lot of people around.
So I blew them kisses, vogued, tossed my hair and hammed it up for half an hour, laughing between shots and finishing with a round of applause. It was fun, but embarrassing to have such a crowd, and keeping my tongue planted firmly in my cheek took the edge off.
It hadn't even occurred to me that the photographs could be seen as a statement on female sexuality in a male dominated profession, or whatever it was that caused my sister's reaction. I just knew that I'd been asked to pose for dreaded photographs, and my go-to response is to pull a face, either over the top ugly, or full-on panto Carry On. Always has been, and probably always will be.
But when I put that to my sister, she sighed and said that my ingrained response to playact for the cameras was a result of having been cultured to suppress my inherent sexuality by disguising it with humour, making myself non-threatening. Sometimes you just can't win...