I'm not ashamed to say that I place a degree of value in the way things look. And I include people. And I'll go one further and say I sometimes read upon a person's face or frame aspects of their character. My readings are often awry, but I can't help making them nonetheless. Which brings me to writer's likenesses. You know, the little photos publishers shove on the inside of the dustjacket so we know that not every author isn't a nom de plume of Ed McBain (six or seven by my reckoning). I mentioned in my previous posting how Samuel Beckett has an aura of slowness about him and I found myself wondering how many readers excavate something of an author's personality through his or her image, rightly or wrongly. Perhaps I'm a shallow kind of fellow, but I do it all the time, and it's never so much fun as when I see a writer's face having read some of their work in the dark, so to speak (this tends to be the case as most of my books are picked up secondhand with mutilated covers, missing jackets or in editions that predate the trend).
I'd be interested to hear any of the assumptions you have made based on an author's photo, the more groundless the better. For what it's worth, here are a few of mine (try Google images if you don't have you're Famous Writers Sticker Album handy - collect them all, swap with friends et cetera):
Paul Auster - quite handsome on the underside of his paperbacks, but something conciously writerly in the gaze and rather vain given the stock image looks to be 10-20 years out of date
Dan Brown - struck me as a rather dreary bloke. Perhaps it's the turtle neck and the whole American business-casual look. Puts me in mind of an accountant at the weekend, maybe about to play a round of golf.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez - looked spot on as I'd envisaged him having read 100 Years of Solitude, which is to say, like an older, greyer Mario (from the Nintendo videogames).
Ian Fleming - not at all like a spy. But then neither did Michael Caine in The Ipcress File.
J.K Rowling - she looks uncomfortable in just about every photo I've seen of her. It may be Croesus-like wealth that seems to have unsettled her. Or it could be the posh frocks she seems to have been coerced into wearing.
T.S. Eliot - uncharitable, in person, if not ideologically. Bordering on the mean.
Christopher Marlowe (strictly speaking, not a photograph, and only presumed to be the playwright) - every bit as arrogantly louche as I'd hoped.
Anita Brookner - on the Random House website, she looks distracted by what I hope was a spider in the corner of the room and not musings on the disappointments that so often accompany love.