I’ve been roped into a project being run by a chum of mine, Alom Shaha: he’s making a short film exploring one central question: “Why is science important?” There’ll be more about this as he goes through the process, doubtless, but right now he’s collecting contributions for a website we’re building.

I asked him to see if he could get photos of the contributors – words on a screen are one thing, but a nice little mugshot reminds us that the words were written by real people, not some faceless Google-bot. So far, every contributor – all working scientists or science media folks, note – has sent a stylish, terribly professional portrait. All high-res and moody and arresting and personable and…

What? Is this something one just does these days: gets a bunch of head-shots done by a professional photographer? I thought only actors bothered, are we all supposed to be doing it now? Is this a London thing, and the nations & regions haven’t had the memo yet?

I’m baffled. And feeling rather left out. Also: wondering if this is really a direction I want science to go, where what we look like matters in addition to what we say and how we say it.

Meanwhile, I’m going to search my address book for top-notch make-up artists in Glasgow. If this is the game we’re all playing, I’m going to need all the help I can get.


  1. There are very few good photos of me in existence. I keep meaning to get a decent head-shot as a thumbnail for networking websites.
    The only one I have was taken at leg’s length.

  2. I can off you my services – I do a lot of those actors for Spotlight – and if you’re lucky you can get painted white and covered with flour, whey hey.

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