In the digital age of the selfie, photography is so prolific, accessible and widely shared that, often, the medium dilutes what can make it special and unique. A new exhibit at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation flips the phrase “look at me” to “look at what I see,” proving that some of the most compelling pictures are not of people, but of everyday things. The show, #nothingisordinary, comprises over sixty photographs of everyday occurrences from the lens of Cindy Frank (M.ARCH ’87), the school’s librarian and go-to photographer. The pictures are a slice of life, taken over 16 months in a variety of places, from Cindy’s home and office, to the streets of New York City—as Cindy explains, “wherever I am.”
“The students love it,” said Ronit Eisenbach, who curated the exhibit. “It has really enhanced the environment, and I think it gives students an opportunity to pause from the bustle of studio to notice something thought-provoking and beautiful.”
The photos, which range from names etched along the Brooklyn Bridge to a cup of tea balancing on the edge of a table, are nestled among the columns of the school’s Great Space, drawing visitors around the perimeter like a trail of breadcrumbs. Each photo is six by six mounted; the exhibit offers a mix color shots and black and white, which draw the eye to patterns and texture. But what makes the exhibit unique is that 90% of the photos were captured with a camera phone. With the help of photo apps, like Snapseed, Cindy is able to manipulate color and saturation, conveying feeling and uncovering what might otherwise be invisible.
“The idea of the exhibit is that there is beauty all around us,” said Cindy, who makes it a habit to take pictures every day. “As easy as it is to just pick up your phone and take a picture, even when I’m in a hurry, I’m building a composition. There is so much around us that we don’t see; they are the little beauties of daily life.”
#nothingisordinary is on view in the school’s Great Space and on the mezzanine through graduation (May 21, 2017). To see more of Cindy’s photography, follow her on Instagram @cindygfrank.