Photographer's Note


Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), son of Phillip II of Macedon, student of Aristotle, and a brilliant military strategist who succeeded in conquering the known world. He also established upwards of a dozen new cities, spreading Hellenistic Culture to all the lands he conquered, leaving an everlasting legacy. The bust seen in the photograph was carved by his official sculptor, Lyssipus, and is now one of the true gems of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. The museum itself is arguably the finest archaeological museums in the world. As a land bridge between Europe and Asia, Anatolia saw the rise and demise of numberless major civilizations — among them, Hittite, Trojan, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman — explaining the unrivaled wealth of the museum's collection.

In shooting this image I regarded the project as producing a portrait of a statue. I employed available light from a window, and my camera, a Nikon-F camera, mounted with a fixed 50-mm focal length Nikkor lens. I used Kodachrome-64 slide film, slow but a legend for sharpness and color.

After scanning the slide, I cropped the photo, making sure that one eye of the subject was virtually smack on the vertical bisecting line. This is a principle that Dr. Christopher Tyler, psychologist/art lover in San Francisco, first discovered in 1998, revealing a tacit principle that all great masters employ in creating defining portraits. (The discovery made the front page of the New York Times.) Indeed, it is found in all three of Leonardo’s portraits of women, including the Mona Lisa. I've noticed that two of my TE-favorites, Sabyasachi and Veve, have both taken a number of images, intuitively adopting this principle. It seems that whether we are painting a protrait in oil, or creating a portrait with a camera we focus on one eye. (I wrote about this principle in Chapter Eight of my book, 'Math and the Mona Lisa.'

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6781 W: 471 N: 12170] (41261)
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