LSU organic chemistry professor Bill Crowe spends his free time taking photos of the beauty Baton Rouge has to offer. In our chat, we learned a little about the man behind the phone.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Bill Crowe. I am an organic chemistry professor at LSU. Although I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, am still fond of the Boston accent (a.k.a. ‘Manchester by the Sea’), and still root for Boston teams (geaux Patriots!), I have grown fond of my new home. I am a Northern become Southerner.
How long have you been in Baton Rouge? You seem to post a lot of photos around LSU’s campus.
I moved to Baton Rouge in 1998 when I became a member of the chemistry faculty at LSU. I think the beauty of LSU’s campus would inspire almost anyone to take up photography as a hobby.
We noticed you take a lot of photos of art and animals. What’s the inspiration behind these posts?
About eight months ago I decided to try biking instead of going to the gym to get in some exercise. If I saw something interesting I took a picture of it. As my bike rides grew longer I started exploring parts of Baton Rouge I had never seen. Downtown, mid-town, old South Baton Rouge: When I started I had no idea how much amazing street art there is all over Baton Rouge. Before I knew it I was biking not just for the exercise but for the opportunity to share all the great art I was seeing.
How has being a professor, scientist and bicycle enthusiast shaped your photos?
All my life I have been into math and science . . . but what I think intrigues me most about numbers and chemistry is patterns and symmetry. So taking pictures has become a great way to feed the frustrated artist in me.
What is your favorite subject to capture and why?
Right now I love documenting all the different examples of street art in Baton Rouge. But I am an equal opportunity opportunist . . . I love the creative things that people do in their yards for the holidays, and I am not above taking pictures of our outdoor cats . . . ‘cause who doesn’t love a cute picture of a cat?
Do you have a secret to the “perfect” Instagram post? If so, what is it?
I am new to Instagram and I suppose that has made me what my wife calls “a social media whore” where a perfect Instagram post is whatever it takes to get a ‘like’!
Why do you primarily use your smartphone for your posts?
I seldom know in advance what intriguing, entertaining, or beautiful thing will inspire me; my smartphone is always there.
In what ways do you feel your posts contribute to the Baton Rouge community?
I would love to do what I can to support the great work of the Walls Project. Maybe eventually I could put together a website that provides a picture, the artist name and location of all the great wall art in the area. There is so much great art to share and some of it is hard to find. It would be fun if visitors could explore our city through this art!
Anything else you’d like DIG readers to know?
After exploring the art around town I just want to say this. We are blessed with some amazing local artists! I especially like the work of Skinny Dope and Marc Fresh. Street art doesn’t have the caché of the art found in museums . . . but what it does have is immediacy, color and community spirit. I have stopped to take pictures of art and gotten into conversations with people in the neighborhood. Street art generates pride that brings people together in positive ways.