The Chrysalis Blog: Please Take Down That Picture of Me, Dude

Obligatory Blogger Headshot

 

The Chrysalis Blog:

Please Take Down That Picture of Me, Dude

Camille Schenkkan

 

 

 

I am not particularly wild. My idea of a good time is watching a nature documentary and drinking a glass of wine with my husband. Still, occasionally I do go out with my girlfriends to a club or a bar-- totally normal for a 25-year-old Angeleno. But with digital cameras and phones that upload instantly to Facebook, I have to be aware of what parts of our night get documented and shared with the world.

And by "the world," I mean both of my bosses, my mom, my husband's aunt, my teenaged cousin and-- oh yeah-- Laura Zucker, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Yes, I am Facebook friends with her, which seemed like a fantastic idea and a big honor until I realized that there's a complete photo archive of my college and post-graduation years on there. Not that Laura is going to sit there paging through the five hundred and twelve tagged pictures of me, but she could... and that's a little terrifying. In the interest of full disclosure, I've chosen to illustrate this blog with embarrassing photos of me from Facebook. Enjoy.

 

Shotgunning

We're in a field that values professionalism, a field that's adopting business models and placing greater value on formal training and professional development. It's also a field where it's not uncommon to meet your boss for drinks or go to arts events with co-workers on the weekends. The boundary between work and life is fluid, so you end up representing your organization or job wherever you go. And this is a picture of me shotgunning Coors Light in college.

 

VampireNow that so many people have access to online information, that representation extends to our social networking profiles and Flickr albums. My friends in arts management have "cleaner" online profiles than my friends who went into the for-profit sector, where the line between job and free time is more clearly drawn.

Sometimes I have to ask a well-meaning friend to take down a picture of me, say, making my horrific lizard-face ("No, I realize it's hilarious, I just really don't want it online") or doing some inappropriate touching with a college buddy ("Ha-ha, don't remember that being taken... look, sorry to be Buzz Killington, but can you take it down?").

Why?

 

 

A few days after my wedding, photos started going up. I figure no one will have an issue with my rather tame Happy Ending Bar bachelorette party, but I'd been so excited during the rehearsal dinner and the reception that I made a series of totally ridiculous faces at everyone who aimed a camera at me (see proof at left).

 

Wow.

 

I'd been so punchy right before the ceremony that even the professional photographer got some shots of me goofing around with my bridesmaids that I'd rather no one saw. Luckily, those are only on his password-protected site... that I emailed to everyone who attended the wedding before I actually looked through the photos. Brilliant.

 

 

 

Zelda

My most frustrating online photo experience has nothing to do with Facebook; in fact, the photos aren't even embarrassing. One of the reasons I was excited to take my husband's name was the direct association of my maiden name, Camille Celeste Brown, with the Legend of Zelda. Yes, the 90s video game.

After college, I got headshots taken and went to film auditions for about four months before deciding I hated it and moving into arts management. During those four months, though, I got involved with a great group of filmmakers called Rainfall Films who shot a trailer for a fake Legend of Zelda movie, with me as the elven video-game princess. It aired on April 1, 2008 on the IGN website as an April Fools prank and was the #1 video on YouTube and MySpace.

Legend of Zelda posterRainfall did a gorgeous job and I'm proud of the trailer, but I discovered that I am really, really uncomfortable with celebrity... namely internet celebrity. Stills from the trailer appeared beside my headshot and personal information about me as my name went from being associated with theatre and Scripps College to showing up on hundreds of web boards and fanboy sites. And let me tell you, those people can be cruel.

I eventually stopped looking at the sites and was thrilled when I changed my name and regained control over my internet presence. Still, it bothers me that so many of those fan sites took my headshots and even my personal photos from the dinky little acting website I'd constructed, as I really have no way of tracking where those images have ended up.

 

Dorothy and CamilleBut Facebook is the prime venue for photo embarrassment due to the sheer number of people who can see your pictures. Somehow, I have 520 Facebook friends. If a picture with both me and my friend Dorothy (526 friends, 104 mutual) such as this one, where Dorothy looks cute and I look like a drunken chipmunk, gets tagged, 942 people now have access to the picture. If someone comments on it, their friends can now see it. Granted, you can adjust your account security (which I have), but unless I want to take the time to adjust each of those 520 friends' permission settings, I'm still allowing everyone access to my photo albums.

Coyote UglyThat's because a part of me is like, calm down. You're in your mid-twenties and you live in the middle of Hollywood. If you want to go to Vegas and dance on a table once in a while, that doesn't affect your ability to be a really good cultural worker.

I'm lucky enough to have two awesome bosses who don't expect me to be a teetotalling goody-goody; in fact, I couldn't deal with a job where I'd have to take out my piercings and call everyone "Mr" and ask permission before dying my hair. Arts Management lacks those unnecessary rules that have nothing to do with job performance and everything to do with appearance.

And even if being Facebook friends with my peers and co-workers can be stressful, at least they want to be friends with me. They're pretty awesome.

 

Bunny with a pancake on her head

 

 

 

 

 

I leave you with one of my favorite Facebook pictures: my bunny Francis with a pancake on her head. Isn't technology great?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are brave.

I think the growing notion of transparency is not just applicable to campaign contributions or use of stimulus funds. I've worked in companies that had the rules about hair color, etc., and it's just not natural for me to lead the double life. However, there is such a notion as too much information, and I'm thankful for the Limited Profile setting on facebook. Alas, if anyone that knows my full name is really determined to find embarrassing pics of me, che sarà sarà.
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