According to Corban Swain, a first-year PhD student in biological engineering, a great headshot relies on fine facial details and angles of light: “Fifty-plus percent is just forming a connection with the person … just to break the tension. [Then there are] angular things, where you put the light, the shoulders, a head tilt. You know when photographers do that? They’re actually doing stuff!” He laughs. “It’s little, subtle changes.” Image: Joseph Lee
By Bridget E. Begg
Perhaps Corban Swain (E2 ’11) has inherited his idiosyncratic nature from his hometown. Huntsville, Alabama, has a dynamic history in the deep south: Originally a small cotton mill town, its selection as a post-WWII missile development site catapulted it into the space race. Later, it became an engineering enclave and hotspot for biotechnology.
Corban, too, defies stereotypes and ably wrangles his varied identities, as an artist and a scientist, a perfectionist and a procrastinator, a poet and an engineer, and — what in his youth sometimes seemed to him to be a dichotomy — an “intellectual brother.”