Zionsville Times Sentinel
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 B9
Local photographer
presents exposition
In many ways, the art of
photography is about legacy
and leaving a trail of mem-
ories behind. We might be
careless with them, leaving
them in a forgotten box in a
cabinet or drawer, but when
we find them again, we are
entranced as if the magic
was happening all over
Photographs take us back
to when our children were
small and still miraculous.
They serve as reminders of
what we once were or of
what we shouldn’t ever for-
get. And no one knows this
unique process better than
Zionsville portrait photog-
rapher Tom Casalini. In a
special exhibit for the
Indianapolis Art Center,
Casalini recently presented
Photo submitted
his new photography expo-
A photograph taken by Zionsville portrait photographer Tom
An Indianapolis
Legacy, a series of fourteen
their own pieces, I felt that
portraits of notable Central
their selection gave them
Indiana artists.
ownership of the show plus
Originally, the concept
I really wanted them to be
started because Casalini
an active participant. So
wanted to create an oppor-
when I finally walked into
tunity to “pay it forward”
the exhibit, it became my
by exhibiting the portraits
finished canvas.
of artists who captured the
Q: How was this project
Indiana artistic imagina-
different from Ordinary
tion, something he believed
your book on
often goes unacknowledged
Medal of Honor winners?
art in zionsville
and unexpressed. In select-
A: I think that they are
ing the 14 artists, he con-
totally different projects in
centrated on those who
rapher runs the risk of get-
the way that they have
were committed to staying
ting in the way so the por-
impacted people. Ordinary
and working in Indiana and
trait becomes more a state-
Heroes has a dimension all
who had made a significant
ment about the photogra-
of its own. The portraits are
impact on changing its
pher than about the person.
a nice vehicle, but the emo-
artistic landscape. The 14
So I like going in raw. It
tional value of the book is
artists include Douglas
leaves me more open to a
beyond the portraits, even
David, Lois Davis, John
straightforward conversa-
beyond the book. One
Domont, James Wille Faust,
tion as to who they are.
thread that strings through
Becky Fehsenfeld, Greg
Q: How did you create a
it is the book’s honesty.
Hull, Walter Knabe, CW
comfortable atmosphere
Though the Legacy show
Jay Parnell,
where your subjects feel
hits the same subjective
William A. Rasdell, Todd
safe enough to reveal them-
chords, the book is different
selves in their portraits?
because the underlying
Scopelitis, KP Singh and
A: I visited the artists and
emotional value is already
Lois Main Templeton. After
spent a few hours with
there because of their
a jam-packed opening
them, maybe a half of day.
actions and citations. What
night, I talked with Casalini
While I was there, I would
was really wonderful in the
about the project.
pick out and observe
book was the connection
Q: What motivated you to
things. I don’t analyze it all
between the ordinariness —
do a photography project
that much. I know that when
the oxymoron of it. This
like An Indianapolis
I went back to do their por-
was one of the first books
trait, it was generally no
that depicted Medal of
A: I was thinking that it
more than 45 minutes
Honor recipients as how
would be fun to hang the
because I already knew what
they see themselves as ordi-
work of artists, who are
I wanted and that what they
nary people. There’s no
well established, and have a
had given me was honest.
military context to it, no
national clientele of collec-
Q: How do you know
medals and without their
tors and patrons who have
when you have a good por-
medals around their neck,
chosen to stay in
they instantly could be any-
Indianapolis. They are all
A: For me, it is more
one’s granddad, brother or
more than willing to mentor
instinctual than a formula.
other artists. They are also
From the time you were lit-
Q: Will you turn An
committed to staying in
tle to adulthood, there was
Indianapolis Legacy into a
Indiana and Indianapolis to
really one expression that
book like you did for
create their work which, I
was acceptable in a portrait.
Ordinary Heroes?
think helps in establishing
So you are never part of
A: I don’t know. Right
Indianapolis as an art center
your own portrait. Your
now, I am letting it take its
of quality art. I liked that
photograph is always some-
own path. I do want to con-
they were all connected in
one else’s concept. As a
tinue the project because
how and where their inspi-
photographer, I can tell the
it’s fun to have an original
ration comes from, and
subtle shifts, eye move-
concept and see what gives
where their base of inspira-
ments or when something is
it energy. For me, it was
tion comes from.
said that comes from the
intuitive. My involvement
Q: How did you select the
heart or that has moved
was just perfect — to create
artists who eventually par-
them. They may not even be
the portraits, put together
able to verbalize it. At the
all the elements, but not
A: Along with the criteria
same time a connection
have to control them. The
I already mentioned, I was
takes place because I am so
other elements, the type of
also looking for a spiritual
open to it. When we are
work, hanging the show-
connection between the
doing the portrait, I can go
were all up to the artists.
artist and his work then a
back to that moment of hon-
Overall it became a won-
connection between the
esty and then let them go
derful collaboration
artist and myself. I wanted
from there. But it is up to
between 14 artists with one
all the same energy so the
me to be aware.
show would feel balanced.
Q: The exhibit included
Now on exhibit at the
Q: How much research
an original piece of artwork
Indianapolis Art Center in
did you do on each individ-
with each portrait. Were
Broad Ripple, Casalini’s An
ual artist?
you involved in selecting
Indianapolis Legacy in the
A: I don’t work that way.
the artwork?
Allen W. Clowes and Sarah
In researching, I think that
A: Each artist selected
M. Hurt Galleries will run
a photographer can get pre-
their own work to be paired
through April 18, 2010. The
conceived ideas of how to
with the portrait. I didn’t
Indianapolis Art Center is
depict or interpret a person.
want to have any input on
located at 820 E. 67th St.,
I also think that the photog-
that selection. By choosing