Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How NOT to sell your anchor

The above picture has been plastered on billboards around Toronto since the end of the summer, announcing the new host of the national news on Global TV in Canada, Dawna Friesen. And it is a terrifying choice. Let me list the reasons:
  1. Anyone who's ever told ghost stories around a campfire, or watched someone do it on TV, knows that it's scary when someone's face is lit from below. And the strongest light source, here, is coming from below.
  2. Friesen isn't smiling. One end of her lips is upturned, yes, but the other is still. She's sneering.
  3. Her pupils looking unusually tiny and her irises look like blue steel. Her eyes just look cold.
  4. I don't know exactly how to explain it, but she reminds me of Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns...
  5. ...or a vampire. (Though that conclusion, given my first three observations, is probably easier to understand.)


Anonymous said...

I was thinking this when I saw the posters plastered around town.

Small pupils are a no-no in photographic portraits. One of the retouching jobs I had when I did business portraits of salesmen and executives was to enlarge the pupils because larger pupils make you appear more sincere. When we're interested in someone, we focus on them and our pupils widen. When we dislike someone, our pupils shrink as if to shut them out.

You're right on with the lighting, too. Back or muted side lighting is always preferable. From-below lighting is a last resort - usually countered with full-face sun-gun type lighting - to hide sagging and aging.

The parted lips sneer is a rather unfortunate expression to capture. I can only imagine they were trying to make her look all parted-lips sexy. Sigh. In which case, I can only hope she's sneering at the very idea.

Just saw her on TV and, bizarrely, she looks nothing like her promo portrait but a lot like Michelle Pfeiffer in nicer movies than Batman Returns.

Anyway. A longwinded way of saying, yes, I agree!

neilshyminsky said...

Thanks, anon. I've seen a few promos on TV, and noticed that they've been trying to do things with her hair, too. (I didn't specifically mention her hair because it's difficult to critique without sounding vaguely sexist. I guess that 'too utilitarian' might be the most neutral-sounding thing I can come up with, but any complaint I make is, I think, always also 'not feminine enough'.)

And you're right about the parted-lips thing being an attempt at sexiness, I think. Horribly botched, but an attempt nonetheless.