Beauty and Intrigue of the Overlooked: a photographic investigation of surfaces

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I will compare and contrast living and inert surfaces at the macro level through a photographic investigation. Complexity of structure, intensity of color and presence of texture are among the merits for which these surfaces will be studied. The exploration of these planes at a magnified level of detail will reveal the visual similarities and differences between them. It is easier now, thanks to advancements in the biological sciences, to factually determine if something is living or nonliving. The visual distinctions between these two categories of existence, however, may not be as obvious, especially with an intensified view of their surfaces. For example, a macro photograph of rust, a nonliving surface, looks eerily similar to one of lichen, a living surface; the main difference between the two being color. The line between these categorical labels “living” and “nonliving” may not be as finite and obvious as the general public would assume. This research aims to show how quickly and blindly the average individual moves through the world. As the researcher, I urge individuals to become more aware of their surroundings and to dismiss a popular misconception that the nonliving is inherently ugly. This research will manifest as sets of photographic diptychs, their side-by-side presentation further emphasizing the similarities and differences between living and nonliving surfaces. By presenting these diptychs as artwork, I am asserting that it is worth your time to look at them; I am asserting that the nonliving is worth your curiosity. By viewing these diptychs, I hope that individuals will realize their involuntary blindness and begin to question the beauty of their surroundings, both living and inert.


Art/Architecture (The Ohio State University Spring Undergraduate Research Expo)


photography, magnification, biological, living, nonliving, surface