A wise man once said, “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.”
With his upcoming photography show at OutCentral “Beautiful & Banal: Exploring the How & What of Seeing” photographer George Oeser seeks to prove just that.
The series of photographs covering a period of time from 20 years ago up to the present day seems at a glance just photos of the everyday and the mundane: flowers, toothpicks, Q-Tips and so forth. And, indeed they are ordinary.
But, closer inspection bears out the devil in the details and the details are quite spectacular.
“I thought if I’m going to focus on the ordinary, I also had to go in the opposite direction, as well. That’s where the floral photos come in. We think of flowers as beautiful. We want to look at them. But what are we seeing? If you look at photos of roses, they are normally only depicted in a couple of different ways. But, why? There are a lot of different parts to those flowers.”
This unique point of view took seed in Oeser as a child growing up alongside a brother who was born without the ability to see. Observing his older brother, Oeser soon determined his sibling could indeed see in ways which “normal” people could not.
“It made me realize we don’t really see with our eyes,” Oeser says.
“We see with our brain. And if our brain is being impacted constantly by these social norms, it is kind of like having a set of binoculars – or even blinders – you never knew you had.”
This realization, combined with a love of using unusual photography equipment, stuck with him and continues to inform and inspire his work.
“Both of these processes of identification – not noticing something at all and noticing something but only in very specific ways – have lots of reasons for being that way,“ says Oeser of his thought process.
“I think most of them are cultural. Since these processes are not innate or genetic, and because we have to learn them, we can change the way we look at things. I think that brings us back to a much more childlike way of seeing the world. You have to know these cultural norms to first identify if they are good or bad and then learn ways to work around them. But this has implications beyond how we see physical objects. For instance, none of these images are really political in nature. But, if we learned to look at information in this same open way, it would have a profound effect on the way everything works.”
“Beautiful & Banal: Exploring the How & What of Seeing” will be presented for one night only at OutCentral 1709 Church St. Nashville, TN 37203 on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 7-10 PM.
For further information, press materials or interview opportunities please contact George Oeser at firstname.lastname@example.org