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"Rust can be beautiful..."

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Urban abstract photographer T.M. O'Connor spends an hour dropping photographic terms and poetic phrases on me, making me want to pick up a camera and try, again, to take a photo that isn't out of focus or tainted by flash burn. I am thankful she can find beauty in rust and decay and also transform that destruction into stunning artwork.

Allegiance
  • T.M. O'Connor
  • "Allegiance"

O'Connor got her start by walking into the newspaper office at Georgia State and asking how to become a photographer. She was told to find some events to shoot which led to her photographing speeches and sporting events. She began to suggest photo opps and ended up landing a press pass to the Music Midtown Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, for whom she later became an official photographer.

To my surprise, O'Connor told stories about being granted the most access at hip-hop events. I didn't imagine that a genre dominated primarily by African-American men would be accepting of a slim white woman with a camera, but there was O'Connor, hanging out backstage while other performers made her stand back by the soundboard in order to shoot concert footage.

Being a photojournalist, O’Connor explained, didn’t pay well but offered priceless experience. After returning to Indianapolis, she decided to focus (no pun intended) solely on fine art photography. Last October, she hosted her first solo show at the Language and Culture International Gallery (158 E. 14th Street), an exhibition that revealed art in the flaking paint on dumpsters and abandoned structures.

Disintegration
  • T.M. O'Connor
  • "Disintegration"

O’Connor spends time exploring; sometimes she even leaves her shoes by the side of the road. She recounted the time she was exploring a scrap yard and stepped in something that ate away the soles of her boots. It’s all for the love of art… and, possibly, new shoes.

View more samples of O’Connor’s work via the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ artists’ database.

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