Photographer finds new beauty in old buildings

by Nathan Whalen

Photographer Thomas Foley, a University alumnus, spent a few days this fall searching out all the buffalos, cellists and Medusa heads on campus.
He didn’t return empty handed.
Foley found and photographed their lifelike images carved inconspicuously into stone walls, overhangs and crevices in some of the University’s oldest East Bank buildings.
Foley unveiled the photos in Williamson Hall’s upper level Wednesday morning to a crowd of 60 people — many from Facilities Management.
Thirteen shots of stone carvings comprised a 23-foot long, 8-foot high mural titled, “Beauty in the Details.”
“This is a way to bring attention to the physical attractiveness of the University,” Foley said.
He undertook the mural project to help change what he believes is the perception that the University is an ugly place.
Foley spent several days on the East Bank covering Burton, Pillsbury and Scott halls, Walter Library and the Bell Museum. All the buildings photographed were built near the turn of the century.
“(The forms) jump out at you,” said Jennifer Schulz, who handles communications for Facilities Management.
She said she will keep her eyes open and pay more attention to the campus stonework.
A contest will run through Friday challenging participants to identify the locations of the photographs. The winner will be awarded a $50 gift certificate to University Bookstores.
Foley has been a full-time University photographer for 25 years. He graduated with a music degree in 1967.
After finding a job related to music, Foley purchased an Argus C-3 camera at a garage sale and took up photography.
Foley will continue his on-campus work with additional series on the interesting and often-overlooked features of the University.

Nathan Whalen covers facilities and construction. He welcomes comments at [email protected]