A week or so ago I did a portrait session to start a hopefully ongoing project of mine taking portraits of academics in the environment where they do most of their work. I kicked off the project with some photos of James Foster (aka Foz) who is just about to start a PhD at the University of Bristol. During his recent Masters course and PhD applications he has mainly been working in his bedroom when studying, so I took his photos there. Below is James's answers to some simple questions and some of the pictures I took of him...
Years studying (including school years): 18
Current highest academic qualification: MRes Vision Science
Current main area of interest: Animal vision (polarization vision in animals)
Employment status and/or job title: Research associate (preparing for a PhD to start in October 2010)
"I really enjoy the pursuit of knowledge, and I have always been fascinated by animals. The thing that really made me want to go into academia was the realisation that we don’t know the answers to some of the important questions I was asking, and that I could be the first to find out. Nothing else I’ve done has been as stimulating mentally, and I find the impending answers to questions motivates me through some of the more boring parts."
What are your aims for the future?
"I want to continue to make a name for myself in my field. My ultimate aim would be to write a book that was comprehensible to intelligent laypeople and of interest to the general public. I’m a big fan of popular science books, even if they do need to be taken with a pinch of salt."