a discovery in observation

by McKenna Petersen 2022

My recent artistic practice involved walking around the various sectors of Chicago, where I was compelled to aim my camera at compositions that focused on the form of the industrial world around me. While editing these photographs, I found that I was able to observe the fleeting moments that are often lost when we observe the bigger picture beyond the frame. This mode of closely observing guided me to discover abstraction, movement, and the potential of meaning often overlooked.

In a cityscape, it is easy to only notice the towering buildings, continuous grayscale of concrete and metal, and the never ending noise of human life around you. However, in this project, I honed in my senses to concentrate on close observation through cropping and framing. With my images, I observed the ephemeral details I would have been unaware of if not captured in that moment. 

My shift in observation came from changing my perspective in the already captured photograph and by exploring the syntax of an arrangement of images together. My intent with this series is to notice my surroundings in a different way. I discovered a new way to observe through the lens that opens up new possibilities for meaning and understanding.


Displayed at the DePaul Art Museum, June 2022

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