I would like to think the Metaverse is one click away.
Click, and Google Maps shifts into three dimensions with holographic displays.
Click, and you’re in an on-line game so real your avatar actually ages at a rate you set with a slider button.
Click, and Zoom meetings become so realistic you can smell the flowers on the manager’s conference table (you’re in Portland, she’s in Glasgow).
OK, maybe we’re not quite there yet. But certainly the concept, and many of the foundation blocks for the futuristic technology are already here, and are already transforming the virtual work space. As a first example, consider the on-line meetings produced by BrandLive, a Portland-based multi-media studio specializing in creating high-powered, on-line meeting environments it refers to as “Netflix-at-work.” BrandLive uses television-level production values and on-demand product videos that stream inside the virtual meeting, making work more like… well… television.
Another example is the simple, classic headshot. Come again? Don’t quite see the connection between the headshot and the Metaverse? Ok, let me make a simple analogy: your headshot is your avatar. That’s avatar, as in your digital proxy in an on-line game. And that’s headshot, as in your proxy in a photograph. A headshot can hold unique power in your on-line presence at work. If done well, it can create an image of the character you want to be at work: strong, courageous, sincere, approachable, likeable. All those qualities can- and should- come through in a good headshot. Like your animated counterpart in a video game (your avatar), your headshot becomes the characterization of what is uniquely you in the work space.
A simple headshot, by today’s standards, can achieve this kind of power with the application of age-old photographic principles: good lighting, simple background and a photographer’s skill in seeking out the key elements of your character through a combination of mutual trust and, to be honest, luck. Over time, new techniques and new technologies will only enhance what a photographer can bring to the headshot (I’ll mention a few of these shortly). And over time, as your on-line presence becomes more and more important to the way you work, the simple headshot will become more and more indispensable as a projection of who you are.
But right now, still waiting for the Metaverse, the classic, time-tested headshot should still deliver your best look, your best side and your best game to your increasingly virtual, on-line presence. Take a look at the headshot you’re using now. Does it deliver a positive, memorable image of who you want others to believe you are? It should.
Coming in the Metaverse are exciting new ideas for headshots. Imagine future headshots that behave like the animated newspaper clips in Harry Potter movies or holographic images of yourself that can be rotated 360 degrees by the viewer, or a really cool one- photographs with built-in AI to let you add, or subtract years to your age at the flick of button in System Preferences (your avatar is timeless, after all)…. ideas which are all possible now and are certain to be incorporated in Metaverse media of the future.
But these future versions of yourself will all build on the classic, timeless qualities of good portraiture- a medium that can and should capture your strength, courage and sincerity within the borders of the simple headshot.