Beauty in the Ordinary
"Beauty in the Ordinary" is an exhibition of PhD student Molly Steinwald's photography designed to heighten everyday environmental perception. The exhibit contains 25 macro-scale images, almost entirely of the often unnoticed local small world natural beauty of Oxford, Ohio’s urban, suburban and rural environments. Several images were of her children interacting with local small-world wildlife as well.
Dispersed throughout the exhibit are take-home pamphlets of various local environmental resources, including a map to all the urban and suburban public access hiking trails, and brochures of local Audubon Society activities and the local nature and environmental education center. Hung alongside the exhibit are panels that say the following:
Beauty in the Ordinary: heightening everyday environmental perception
“Nature’s colors, patterns, shapes, textures and compositions are pervasive, yet often unseen, in local day-to-day urban, suburban and rural environments. The small world beauties recorded here were noticed (not sought out, not manipulated) in the Oxford, OH area, while commuting to and from work, running errands, cleaning house, or on walks with my children."
“Through this exhibit, I hope to awaken you to the value of your local environment. You do not need to travel to a distant, wild location to experience beauty; beauty is in the ordinary.”
“Beauty in the Ordinary” is currently on display from November 2008 through January 2009 in the Oxford Community Arts Center. The exhibit was displayed in conjunction with a talk Molly gave to the local Audubon Society, entitled “Re-cognize your Environment: Conservation through Photography and Education Emphasizing Beauty in the Ordinary,” in which she stressed that environmental outreach efforts need to expand further to reach broader audiences.
Molly said that she wants to reach those who are non-science oriented and may have difficulty in understanding or relating to the global environment—both its beauty and problems. Her presentation focused on using care, not just scare, tactics; focusing more locally rather than globally; and having local educators, researchers and artists collaborate to create locally and scientifically relevant nature appreciation education programs.
About Molly Steinwald
Holding B.S. Biology and M.S. Ecology degrees and current Ph.D. Zoology candidacy, Molly has over 10 years of college-level teaching and research experience in a wide range of biological subjects and habitats around the U.S. Yet, it is other experiences that qualify and motivate her to work towards developing authentic sustainable environmental ethics in locally-limited and scientifically/environmentally unaware or disinterested populations. Growing up in a turbulent, low income, strongly religious, liberal arts and non-outdoor oriented household, as one of 12 children, Molly seldom had the luxury to travel beyond her own backyard. Yet, it was the joy in the small-world beauty she found there that moved her to value and to learn about nature, and to strive to convince others to value and protect it.
Molly is currently a full-time Ph.D. Zoology candidate (researching photographic imagery use in conservation outreach and education) and part-time Assistant Director of the Howe interdisciplinary writing center at Miami University in Oxford, OH. She and her husband, Walter, bring their two young children along on all her field research and photography endeavors.
A recently self-taught photographer, Molly’s 2008 credits include exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival as 1 of 7 emerging female artists from around the U.S., 1 of 12 international NANPA College Summit Scholarships, honorable mention in the International Photography Awards competition, and Miami University’s Charley Harper Art Scholarship for Biological Science Students.
All photos are copyrighted by Molly Steinwald.
To visit Molly's website: http://www.mollysteinwald.com
To purchase Molly's photography: http://www.mollysteinwald.etsy.com