They never knew they were my mentors.  I never met any of them.  I never attended a session where they were shooting. We never exchanged letters or conversations over coffee.  But they influenced and inspired me just as surely as if I had apprenticed at their elbows for years.

It’s the reason behind this section on the website.  I want to pay tribute to the master photographers who not only impacted my own work, but shaped the very development of the craft I have been honored to share with them for more than four decades.  As I look back over my own life’s work and growth in this art, I know I am standing on their shoulders and have been lifted by their standards of excellence.

From time to time I will update this page to feature different masters.  I will focus on those who are no longer with us; hopefully, to help perpetuate their names, their work, and the groundbreaking ideas and techniques they perfected and the paths they laid – not only for me, but for many of my contemporaries.

Within this site, I will attempt to provide a venue where their voices can still be heard – keeping them alive and speaking to us in black and white.



"The physical image of the subject and the personality traits that image reflects are the most important aspects, but alone they are not enough…We must also show the subject’s relationship to his world either by fact or by graphic symbolism."



Portrait by TOM CASALINI

"Arnold Newman is credited with creating 'environmental portraiture' – an approach I explore extensively in my work. Often, the most evocative portrait is one that captures a relationship – the relationship between a person and his or her individual environment. A portrait of an artist can include the strong interrelationship between themselves and their work in a very literal way."


Portrait by YOUSUF KARSH

"There is a brief moment when all there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record."



Portrait by TOM CASALINI

“I begin by watching the eyes. Too many portrait subjects think it’s all about their smile. But the truth is, as Yousuf Karsh stated, there is that one, individual, moment in time when a person’s mind and soul and spirit are present and vulnerable and visible. That’s the moment to capture."



"I always prefer to work in the studio.  It isolates people from their environment. They become in a sense symbolic of themselves."        


Portrait by TOM CASALINI

"In stark contrast to other great photographers of his time, Richard Avedon created his portraits in stark studio environments. For me, it is the individual that determines the setting. Not necessarily by choice, but by their personality. It’s a decision we come to together. I believe strongly in the partnership between myself and the subject – the trust we have to share, the bond we have to experience. But, like Avedon proved, sometimes the studio isolates the individuality of the person perfectly."