Mount St. Joseph University

Photos Imagine Trash in New Ways

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Nicholas Sjulin

File Under: dateline, photography, student photographic society, studio san giuseppe

Jason Hailey with one of his pieces.

Studio San Giuseppe is currently hosting a photo exhibition which contains a collection of photographs submitted by Mount faculty, staff, and students in collaboration with the biennial FOTOFOCUS, a massive photography-focused event in Cincinnati. Each submitted photo provided by the Mount community is centered on capturing an image of “discarded debris in our contemporary society.”

Photos vary from old, rusted metal, to broken glass bottles, to destroyed and unusable cars, all of which fall within the exhibition’s title and theme: Abstract Remains. These photographs hang alongside the works of nationally-renowned artist Jason Hailey.
With the exhibition set up on the ground floor of the gallery, it is nearly impossible to walk past it without immediately noticing the images. Bursts of reds and blues demand your attention as soon as you walk through the front door. As the exhibit pulls the viewer in closer, the subject matter becomes clear: it’s just a pile of junk.

While moving through the gallery, it’s easy to see that all of Hailey’s and the Mount community’s photos possess this dynamic of trash or debris being shown in a beautiful way. Without knowing the exhibition title, Abstract Remains, these photographs stand on their own as beautiful and masterfully done. But as the viewer begins to interpret the image, it begins to tell a story outside the frame.

Hailey and the Mount community were able to express beauty while simultaneously promoting critical thinking about the excessive disposal within our modern society. Their works stimulate the senses and force us to confront the world with new ideas and emotions. Photography has an incredible power to show people what they might not otherwise notice.

The exhibition will continue through Oct. 28. If you want to see more content beyond the Mount’s gallery, FOTOFOCUS will be held this year between Oct. 4 and Oct. 7.

For students who would like further explore the world of photography, anyone, from any major, is welcome to join the Student Photo Society (SPS) at the Mount. If interested, contact the club president, Josie Angel, at