The baby biting my nose in the picture to the right is turning ten years old. It's hard for me to believe that I've been using that picture as my avatar across the web for so long. When I created that avatar, I chose a picture that delighted me. My daughter and I were playing a game that we both loved. I'd hold her with her head next to mine, and when she'd turn away I'd brush her cheek with my nose, to bug her. She'd turn back and playfully bite it. We'd both laugh.
My wife caught the photo of us in the middle of the game. The original photo was nearly monochromatic already, and I thought I'd make it sepia-toned to give it an aged look. It seemed a good idea at the time, since because we had a new baby just about everything seemed renewed and full of wonder and color. A faux sepia-toned photo added some variety.
Now, that ten-year-old sepia-toned photo is beginning to look, well, old. Not only can the baby in the photo read the blog about herself, she probably has her own twitter account. It's time for a new icon/avatar.
There were a few things I really liked about the old avatar. I liked that I used the same one across multiple websites. That makes it easier for my friends to know that it's the same me at each website. I liked that I only took up about 30% of the image. At most sites that allow you to put up an avatar, you're going to be stuck seeing it yourself, so you'd better not mind. I don't want to look at a cheesy smirking headshot of myself when I check in at social networks. And even though I only make up 30% of the frame, I'm glad that it's me in there. I do want my online friends to have at least a rough idea of what I look like.
My friend David D. posted a self-portrait on flickr that really captured my imagination. He only comprised a small part of the photo, yet there was just enough to suggest physical traits to recognize him by, and it had a brilliant warm blue sky. I tried to capture a similar shot, and this is the result. It meets most of that criteria. A couple of other aspects of the photo grew on me, too. I like the deep blue, and I like that since I'm facing to the right, for most social network posts that put my icon on the left, it looks like I'm looking at the conversation.
I'm going to give this new icon a try. Let's see how it goes!