The flash from the camera lights up my face. The officer tells me to turn. To hold the sign a little higher.
There used to be so much to prepare before I stepped in front of a camera. The right outfit, flattering and fashionable – but without appearing as if I cared about those things – and no visible logos, unless they’ve been paid for in advance. The right angle – determined through a series of test shots before-hand. The right lighting – I’d position myself 45 degrees from a window for natural light without the risk of being backlit, then prop up reflective boards to make sure both sides of my face were evenly bright, and of course, no shoot was ready without setting up my two-hundred-dollar ring light.
It was all about curating the right image: desirable, inimitable, unattainable, yet somehow still approachable. It was a balancing act so complicated that of course it required extensive preparation.
But I don’t get to do any of these things before my mug shot.