France Scully Osterman

Osterman is recognized for her extensive knowledge of historic processes, most notably, wet-plate collodion, salt and albumen prints. Her negatives are made from scratch coating the plate by hand with extreme care and skill. “Sleep Series” final images are 8×10 waxed salt prints. “These images offer contradictions: a sense of voyeurism juxtaposed with a moment of innocence; a reminiscence of death or post mortem, yet full of movement.” says Osterman. Lyle Rexer writer and critic for the magazine Art in America says “These sleeping figures suggest how photography thrives in the play between what we sense but cannot see and what we see but cannot fully know”.

Bed, a continuation of the “Sleep Series”, focuses on the bed. Removing the subject, now, the viewer is invited to become the “sleeper.”

France Scully Osterman describes the Bed as being “…a place that is tactile, sensual, sexual; our most intimate place. When one or more of our senses are muted, others become more sensitive. With the quiet and darkness of night, touch becomes heightened: enrobed in cool, smooth sheets, head on a soft pillow, and the comforting texture of a familiar blanket.”

“A powerful symbol on many levels, the bed is where we are conceived and born, and often where we die. As our individual ‘home base’, it offers the nightly promise of comfort, rest, warmth and security. I think it would be hard not to be lured by its magnetic power. This place begs to be touched and I wanted the images and final prints to reflect that. The Bed prints are waxed, then treated as landscapes and hung like Japanese paintings.”

France Scully Osterman is an artist, teacher, and guest scholar at the George Eastman House. She gives lectures, demonstrations, workshops and symposiums throughout the United States, Japan and Europe. France runs the Scully & Osterman Studio in their skylight studio located in Rochester, NY. There you might find her teaching workshops and giving private.

She has received notable reviews of her “Sleep” exhibit in Art in America, Paris Photo Magazine and The Village Voice. As an artist and writer, her work has been featured in Coming into Focus by John Barnier (2001), Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Garde, The New Wave in Old Process Photography by Lyle Rexer (2002), The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes by Christopher James (2008), Le Vocabulaire Technique de la Photographie by Anne Cartier-Bresson (2008), and the third edition of Photographic Possibilities, by Robert Hirsch (2008).

Her images are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; George Eastman House International Museum of Photography; Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas; Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca; and numerous private collections.