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Yes, as it says above, this is, the personal website of a guy called, perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, Alan.

Photography is my thing but I'll be adding various other pages and comments as and when.

alan {at} [] will find me.

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In one sense there are two types of people in the world: scientists and artists. Scientists understand maths, chemistry, computers, and other geeky-type stuff, while artists appreciate paintings, poetry, classical music, and so on. This is very bald and simplistic but let's say that scientists don't understand poetry, and artists haven't got a clue about anything geeky.

Well, in this very simple view, I'm a scientist - I love computers, I write software, I actually understand my very complex camera, and I hate poems, and paintings and sculptures are a mystery to me. But there's always some crossover between the two groups, and there's no rule stating that a scientist shouldn't appreciate a really good painting.

Not long ago I watched some episode of some TV series in which a painting was seen, and our hero said, with some disbelief, "you've got a Caravaggio?!?!". Now, I'm familiar with Van Gogh, and love his weird bold and colourful brush strokes. There was a chap called Hieronymus Bosch, whose Garden of Earthly Delights is the stuff of delicious and imaginative nightmares. As a maths lover, I'm intrigued by the works of MC Escher. But Caravaggio was a mystery to me, and the glimpse of the painting seen in this TV programme was very intriguing. A little research revealed that the picture was probably the one I'm showing below, which is entitled Judith Beheading Holofernes.

I love this picture, I could stare at it for hours. Why? Look at the expression on her face - what complex emotions are portrayed therein. But also, what skill is shown by the painter. So many portraits show faces which are pretty well devoid of much in the way of emotion - they are (in my own understanding as a photographer) poses for the camera. They're studies of perhaps hours or days of patient posing by the subject. The Caravaggio is, however, an unposed snapshot of an instant in time, which is a largely unusual situation in paintings, I think.

So this painting, or at least my love of it, is all about her beautiful face. The old chap on the right and the unfortunate feller having his head removed are finely detailed, but don't intrigue the way the lady's does. It's not a perfect picture - I think the blood is not particularly well done, and its absence on the visible part of the sword blade seems wrong. But who cares! Just look at Judith's face!! I haven't seen such utter and perfect skill in any other works of art.

What do you think: