After 30 years, photographer and professor Christine Osinski has finally discovered a way to print the gorgeous images she shot back on Staten Island. She photographed in NYC in the 1970s and 80s until she and her husband got pushed out of their lower Manhattan apartment so the landlord could flip it (sound familiar?). Osinski was looking to buy a place so this wouldn't happen again, which inspired their move to Staten Island.
Osinski attributes Staten Island as a great influence on her work, saying the place felt exotic, yet still familiar to her. She shot nonstop from 1983-84 with an uncoated Linhoff lens. Needless to say, the uncoated lens really manipulated her photographs and Osinski couldn't figure out how to make a quality print. She tried all the tricks she could while shooting and in the darkroom, but the prints always came out underexposed.
Thirty years later, Osinski is finally able to show her Staten Island series because of new digital technology. With that, Osinski managed to capture a certain type of eerie, suburban, mundane beauty in one of the biggest cities in the U.S. Her emotive and visceral connection to Staten Island is now exposed by way of her photographs.
Osinski does voice her concern about the fast-paced changes, particularly in terms of art. It is as if people cannot even understand that it really could be that difficult to make a high quality photographic print in the darkroom.
“Students don’t realize (how hard it is to make a good print),” says Osinski. “If you want to make a photograph as an object, as a paper object, what it takes to produce that; it’s different than a cellphone picture projected on a website. They can’t believe how much work it takes to make a print … it’s like building a house. It’s enormous, really producing something of quality.”
Sometimes it’s refreshing to be reminded that some things take a little bit extra work. This series will be on display in a group show at Sasha Wolf Gallery titled “The Drinking Show”, which will open on July 11th.
Photographs via Slate and Christine Osinski courtesy of Sasha Wolf Gallery