Crossroad Resonances Interviews Indy
Photographer Mark Orr
Crossroad Resonances is intended to serve as a dynamic new hub for local musicians, bands, and
artists in the Indianapolis area. From the best bars and clubs, to the best places to get a tattoo or
have some coffee, we'll aim to cover it all. Not to mention the HISTORY behind this interesting state of
ours, where it's been and where it's headed. And oh yeah, "haunted houses" too. ..Michael A. Dyer
a.k.a. MAD

Interview with INDY Photographer Mark Orr
June 27, 2009

-MAD: Mark, it's excellent to speak with you and thanks for taking some time to talk. I've been
checking out your various photo galleries for the past couple of weeks, and it's terrific that you're
able to capture such uniqueness and beauty from around our home state of Indiana. Before we begin,
what initially drove your passion in photography and what first inspired and influenced your own

-MARK: Hey Mad. Thank you for allowing me to talk about my passion for photography. I think my first interest in
photography occurred when I was really young and my parents had one of those Polaroid one-step cameras. You
take the pic...and voila! It comes right out of the camera and you get to watch it develop right before your eyes.
That was state of the art stuff back then. That was back when Simon & Garfunkel were singing about
Kodachrome...and those nice bright colors, greens of summer and the entire world was a sunny day....ha.

I really got serious about photography a few years ago. I was taking pictures of family members, businesses, old
homesteads, schoolhouses etc., for my genealogy research and found that I really enjoyed trying to get the best
photo I could get. I also have a penchant for spooky old cemeteries.

-MAD: As noted a large majority of your photos deal with scenes and happenings around the state of
Indiana. What are some of your personal favorite pictures and places from around the cities and
towns of INDY?

-MARK: My favorite photos are one's I've taken of the places I mentioned above. I love anything and everything
that shows the people, places and things of Indiana. It’s nice to somehow preserve the old structures and
historical places, some of which have already disappeared since I photographed them. I also love taking candid
shots of people. Nothing posed or set-up, but just spur of the moment. I could never do studio portraiture. It just
doesn't seem real and natural to me although some photographers do it beautifully. I love to catch people just
being themselves...working, playing etc. You can tell a lot about people in those candid moments. I love
Indianapolis and would like to take more pictures there. There is so much going on and it's a beautiful city. One of
my favorite photos is one I took of Monument Circle just after Christmas last year (the lights were still up). I used
HDR editing and the effect was really cool. Kind of like a Gotham City scene.

Another favorite subject of mine are the Amish who live in my county. I love their "less is more" lifestyle. They are
happy, hard-working, healthy people who don't have to deal with the day to day stresses that we have. And it's
not true, by the way, that most Amish feel that a photograph steals their soul...ha. I hear that a lot.

-MAD: When trying to describe some of your work I would use the terms: timely, lovely, haunting,
desolate, abstract realism. How would you describe your work and how would you like to be viewed as
an artist/photographer?

-MARK: I have heard my photos being described as haunting a lot. I don't know why that is...but I like the idea of it.
I think they seem haunting and desolate because of the subject matter. The people in my photos aren't smiling for
the camera and the barns, farms and out of the way places are isolated and serene.

I love traveling the back roads of Indiana by myself and finding these treasures. Occasionally my wife and/or son
will go with me and those are special times as well.

The series I took of the March 2008 Ice Storm are some of my favorites as well. Talk about desolate. It was really
beautiful being out in the country with the sounds of crackling ice mixed with dead silence. I took that entire series
of shots in one day and it is a day I will never forget.

My favorite photographer is Robert Frank. Frank traveled the U.S. in the 50's and 60's taking candid shots of
people and places. Critics blasted his style and subject matter as being dull and boring, but I found it to be
magnificent. It was a great and revealing look at life in those decades. I feel his photographs represented America
in that time like no one else did. He really captured that era.

I would hope that someday...someone would look at my work like that. I hope I provide an interesting and insightful
look at my part of the world in my lifetime. That would be a great legacy!

-MAD: With your Internet domains and titles, I see you're a fan of Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' series.
Does literature sometimes inspire you to try and capture certain moments and landscapes which
you've experienced through the written word?

-MARK: I have been extremely influenced by literature and music. One of the most influential books for me was
Ross Lockridge Jr's., "Raintree County". The 1948 book was written about the county I live in (Henry County) and
is a great look at life in Indiana during the Civil War era. Although it is is based on real people and
places in Henry County, such as the courthouse in New Castle (which still stands today).

Lockridge's initial intent was to write an account of his ancestors lives. It ended up being fictional but still very
revealing about small town life in the mid 19th century. I think Lockridge sums it up beautifully in this quote from
Raintree County: "For Raintree County is not the country of the perishable fact. It is the country of the enduring
fiction. The clock in the Court House Tower on page five of the Raintree County Atlas is always fixed at nine
o'clock, and it is summer and the days are long."

-MAD: Haha, tell me, what did you think about the ending of King's final 'Dark Tower' book? Are you a
fan of his other works?

-MARK: This is embarrassing. I claim to be this huge Stephen King fan, but I've never read the ending to the Dark
Tower..ha. I got through book four in the awesome (but exhausting) series before I lost my ka-tet..ha. I loved the
characters and the plot, but the waiting and waiting for each new installation lost my interest. I would like to think
that Roland and company made it to their destination, the evil dark man was defeated and all was right in the
mid-world again, but knowing King.. I doubt it happened like that.

I am a fan of many of King's works...mostly his early stuff. I loved "The Body" which was later made into the movie
"Stand By Me", and "It" and many others. King has a way of describing childhood that no other author can come
close too. I can definitely relate to his young characters and feel like my childhood was nearly exactly depicted in
"The Body". The descriptions of what it was like to be that age, the friendships, dreams etc....are so nostalgic,
truthful and endearing. I think most of us forget all that stuff when we grow up....thankfully King did not and is
there to remind us.

-MAD: Who are some of your other favorite authors? Musicians?

-MARK: I used to be a voracious reader. Love E. A. Poe (although some of it made absolutely no sense to me),
Jack London, James Thurber, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Anne Rice and many more.

I recently discovered a wonderful Irish poet named Richard McSweeney. His style of writing is so exceptional. It's
kind of Poe-like but actually makes sense...ha! I am a huge fan of his. McSweeney writes about family, life and the
world around him. I am looking forward to reading his latest "Unto Lineage Royal"!

Music is probably my greatest passion. I love all types from classical to metal. My favorite all-time artists would be:
Aerosmith, Van Halen, Tom Petty, James Taylor and many more. It sounds cliche', but they provided the
soundtrack for my life.

Also am a huge John Mellencamp fan...I probably have everything he's put out there including the vinyl...ha!

I love finding new artists on My Space to listen to and spend a lot of time (and iTunes money) listening to and
buying their music. There are some great unsigned musicians out there and finding them is like finding buried

The Bobby Clark band from southern Indiana is one of my favorites. Another favorite is Mindmovie (Achim
Wiershem) from that guy play guitar and compose great songs! I was lucky enough to
collaborate with Achim and Jef DeCorte on Achim's latest album (cover) ("An Ocean of Dreams").

Sorry for the plug...but this guy is great...!

I photograph local bands every chance I get and there is some awesome talent right here in Indiana!

-MAD: What are a few of your favorite movies? Those which you think have the most striking cinematic
qualities, when considering it from a photographer's point of view?

-MARK: I love old horror movies, especially the old "B" movies. I also love mysteries and Sci-Fi. For great
cinematography and special effects though I think the Harry Potter movies were amazing. The Star Wars movies
were great too and the cinematography in Titanic was awesome, although I thought the movie was about an hour
too long...ha. I also love movies that spend the big bucks on music scores. I want to see anything with musical
scores by John Williams, James Horner and Danny Elfman.

-MAD: Is there any place you'd really like to go shoot, from around the world, that you haven't yet been
able to visit?

-MARK: I'd like to go many,many places. I've never been west of Illinois...! I would love to take photos in Ireland,
Italy and Africa. I'm currently planning to take a trip to the Appalachians and photograph the people and places
there in the mountains. I don't think a lot of people realize that we have thousands of people starving right here in
the U.S. The living conditions are so horrible and yet we never hear anything about it in the media.

-MAD: No doubt about that, recent reports estimate that 1 BILLION people in the world are starving! Do
you have any advice for up and coming photographers that you'd like to share? Any tips or

-MARK: I think the best advice is to just photograph anything that appeals to you, the photographer. Do it for
yourself and if other people like it, that's great. *You should own your authenticity.
.Also I would say to take plenty
of photos! I take literally hundreds of photos in one single outing. That way you are bound to find some good
shots. I'm happy if I find one photo out of 20 that I absolutely love.

-MAD: Mark, thanks so much for spending some time with us today and letting us know about some of
the cool things around the state of Indiana. As we close up, are there any words of wisdom you'd like
to leave the readers with?

-MARK: When it comes to photography, I am still a beginner. I learn something new every day. I think the best way
to learn about photography is to view as much work from other photographers as you can. Everyone has a unique
way of expressing themselves through film (or digitally). Other than that...just get out there and start taking
photos. Don't spend a lot of time worrying about horizon lines, the rule of thirds and all the other rules. In this age
of digital photography...all that can be corrected easily in editing. Just go for a good shot that tells a story.

It doesn't matter where you live either. When I first started taking pics in Indiana..I thought "What am I going to
shoot?" We don't have mountains or an ocean...but I found there is beauty everywhere around us. Indiana is very

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my passion/hobby! I think what you are doing in promoting Hoosier artists
is awesome.


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