like breathing, is a universal experience; yet it retains a certain
mystery since we rarely, if ever, observe it. France Scully Ostermans
new series reveals this hidden side of life by examining and beautifully
portraying this shared human experience. Ostermans prints open up a
world of the unseen that is equally self-reflective and voyeuristic,
showing us what we cannot see of ourselves and what we normally do not
see of others.
draws the viewer in further is that Osterman captures the romance, innocence,
weariness, loneliness, surrender, and intimacy her models unwittingly
reflect in their sleep. Besides the theme, Ostermans work is highly
unusual for her utilization of the painstaking 19th century wet-collodion
process. This method of making negatives requires that the photographer
coat the glass plate just prior to exposure and develop it while still
extreme care and skill needed to make the final product is compounded
by the fact that she also sensitizes her own paper. To make her final
images, Osterman makes waxed salt paper prints from her glass plate
negatives, a process popularized in the 1840s. These so called sun
prints are actually contact printed in the sun rather than developed
in a dark room. This choice requires a longer exposure and constant
attention to bring each of her prints to life. As a result, each image
is created with its own distinct emotional landscape through shifts
made in light, tonal range, and depth.
is recognized as one of the few true experts and practitioners of the
wet collodion and waxed salt print methods. Her writings have been included
in a large number of publications, and her work has been highlighted
in a number of solo exhibits. In addition to serving as joint publisher
of The Collodion Journal, Osterman serves as a guest scholar
for George Eastman House and has given lectures, demonstrations and
workshops throughout the United States, Japan and Europe.
Sleep series establishes Osterman to be much more than a master of photographic
technique as it puts forth a complex vision; evoking a strong sense
of humanity, connectedness, beauty, introspection, and voyeurism."
©2000 Howard Greenberg Gallery. All rights reserved.
Greenberg Gallery (link)
41 East 57th St., New
Village Voice, Oct-Nov
Paris Photo, Nov-Dec 2002
in America, September 2003
Photovision magazine, "Innocent Sleep,"