An art exhibit at Franklin College invites viewers to take note of details they might not see in the beauty of everyday objects.

Franklin College religion and philosophy professor David Chandler describes his work using the concept of “phenomenology,” which means seeing or learning about something or using one’s senses, such as sight rather than thoughts, expectations or prejudices. He focuses on objects in his work — an insect on a flower, a rain-drizzled windowpane, the reflection on a car on a sunny day — to capture an image of dramatic detail in seemingly mundane objects.

Gallery visitors will see some familiar scenery: street scenes of Franklin and downtown Indianapolis are visible, however distorted and blurred with rain or in the curving metal reflection of a car’s surface.

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These new perspectives are only possible when you stop to observe all details, Chandler said. For example, if you’re driving somewhere in the pouring rain you might get frustrated by the delay it’s causing in the traffic or get worried about getting soaked if you leave your car without an umbrella. But by practicing a mindfulness in the moment, you might observe details just from raindrops you hadn’t seen before.

“It opens up wonderful, rich, new experiences,” he said.

Chandler’s work combines his day job with a creative passion he’s had since he was growing up in Japan as a son of missionaries. Growing up with what he termed “fundamentalist” Christian principles, his eyes were opened to other ways of thinking about spirituality as he got older. After graduating from high school in Japan, he got a certificate in photography at the New York Institute of Photography.

He earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a doctorate. His teaching career has been spent mostly at Franklin College, where he came in 1981.

Academic studies and teaching in religion further fueled his ideas for art.

“It opens my mind,” Chandler said of mediation and purposely slowing down to practice mindfulness. “I spend so much of my time making schedules that I miss everything in between.”

If you go

A photography exhibit by Franklin College religion and philosophy Professor David Chandler is open at the Johnson Center for the Fine Arts at  Franklin College.

Gallery hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through Dec. 4. Admission is free.

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Anna Herkamp is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2712.