CLEARWATER – Alex Casano is only 19, but the Palm Harbor area resident has already accomplished a lot.
He has started his own company, self-published three photo books that capture the beauty and history of Florida, and recently hosted the first presentation at the Clearwater Public Library’s new Heritage Studio.
To say Casano is good at multitasking is like saying there are just a few historic spots in Florida for him to capture with his Canon.
“I just look for historic sites that capture my eye,” Casano said when asked where he finds inspiration.
Following the publication of his latest photo book, “Historic Tarpon Springs,” and with his “day” job creating life-history video tributes with his multimedia company, Preserve Your Past, Casano is well on his way toward carving out a satisfying career doing something he loves: capturing history.
“I love history. It’s one of my passions,” Casano said prior to the 90-minute presentation of “Historic Tarpon Springs” at the downtown library on Aug. 18. “I also love preserving people’s history, and I’m lucky I get to do that with my multimedia company, Preserve Your Past.”
Casano, a homeschooled student who was born in New Jersey and moved to the area when he was 5, deftly handled the slideshow presentation like a pro after practicing for weeks in front of a mirror.
“Have you ever felt like history has been lost?” he asked the crowd of more than two-dozen, including several family members. “Well, it doesn’t have to be.”
Casano then cycled through several iconic images from Tarpon Springs, including: the Boyer Cottage, a cracker-style house built on Spring Bayou in 1878 that is now at Pinellas County’s Heritage Village museum in Largo; the Sponge Exchange; Spring Bayou; and Hellas Restaurant and Bakery, on Dodecanese Boulevard. All the while, he provided detailed information on each one.
After the presentation Casano’s mother, Rosemary, praised her son.
“He did a fabulous job,” she said. “Amazing. It gives me a lot of encouragement. I’m proud to be his mom.”
Michael Casano said son Alex has been producing books on his own for years, following a failed attempt to work with a publisher.
“He had a prototype made that he spent a lot of money on, and people really liked it, but he didn’t like the offer,” Michael said of Alex’s first book, the “Florida ABC Book.”
“So, he did the self-publishing thing, and now he’s on his third book.”
People at the library event to whom Alex is not related were also impressed with his work.
“It’s very good a young person cares so much about history,” said Nancy Hughes, a friend of the Palm Harbor Museum. “We need to preserve our heritage. I think Alex could put together a short video to show in visitors centers across the state. It would be very beneficial because people like to learn about history.”
For his part, Alex said, he planned to continue producing the photo history books, which are available on Amazon and in several Pinellas County locations, while getting his video-tribute company off the ground.
“I’m going to keep doing this as well as the life-history videos,” he said, noting his next book, on Palm Harbor, will be released this fall. “I love history and I love preserving people’s history, and I’m going to keep doing it as long as I still love it.”