Author Photos

A post over at The Rumpus led me to a post over at The Millions led me to Marion Ettlinger’s online gallery. OK, so there’s my paper trail.

Anyway. I’m something of a naughty reader, I suppose, because except for the few authors I’ve met or really, really adore, I just don’t know what writers look like. I think I could pick Hemingway out of a crowd (James Patterson for sure!), but could I point to David Mitchell? Or Annie Proulx? Or, jeez, Alice Munro? Nope. In the highly unlikely event I ever walked by somebody on the street, I’d miss my chance to grovel for an autograph!

(I’m like this with singers, too. I think it’s because I don’t care about the band/artist/writer as a “person” so much as a producer of that art I like. Who cares what the singer looks like as long as the song is good, right? Or is that terrible?)

Imagine my surprise, then, to go flipping through Ettlinger’s gallery and stumble across photos of authors I’ve widely read…and find that they look exactly like I’d subconsciously assumed they would, based on their writing.

Cormac McCarthy
, for example. I mean, what else could he look like? Am I right? Or am I right?

See also: Charles Frazier; Raymond Carver; Joyce Carol Oates; Alice Munro (actually, I just love the mischievous twinkle in her eye). And basically everyone else there, except Jhumpa Lahiri and Truman Capote.


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