Photographs from Staten Island by Christine Osinski

Issue 46

These photographs were taken during 1983 and 1984 in Staten Island, New York, commonly referred to as “the forgotten borough”. Staten Island then felt like a remote place with a working class sensibility. I understood it at once, having grown up in a blue collar neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. During my explorations, I walked across the borough as an itinerant photographer, carrying a 4x5 camera and later a twin lens reflex camera. Everywhere I looked there was the potential to make an interesting picture. Each time I started out, I never knew what I would find and it always felt like an adventure. In doing this work, it became apparent to me that I understand the familiar as being very exotic. I appreciate the oddness in the ordinary.

My method of working as a photographer has always involved not drawing attention to myself---to articulate my subject as well as I could but to leave myself and my opinions out of the picture. This may seen like a contradiction because in doing this work on Staten Island, I walked around carrying a large camera which drew people’s interest. The camera became a transitional object between my subjects and myself---a conversation piece---a way to negotiate picture taking. Strangers seemed willing to have their pictures taken by me using this large camera. Maybe taking pictures is an opportunity to challenge assumptions and to ask viewers to take another look.

(All images were taken in 1983 and 1984)

Christine Osinski is a New York City based photographer.

 Boy on Bike

Boy on Bike

  Two Boys With Automobile 

Two Boys With Automobile 

  Town House For Sale

Town House For Sale

  Boy With Rifle  

Boy With Rifle  

  Girl Holding Brown Paper Bag 

Girl Holding Brown Paper Bag 

  Mother and Son Dancing 

Mother and Son Dancing 

  Forest View Estates 

Forest View Estates 

  Tank and Midway Diner 

Tank and Midway Diner 

  Teen with Tube Socks 

Teen with Tube Socks 

  Man with Oil Can 

Man with Oil Can 

  Corkscrew Trees 

Corkscrew Trees 

  Parade in Travis, Staten Island 

Parade in Travis, Staten Island 

  Man with Puma Shorts 

Man with Puma Shorts 

  Young woman cutting grass 

Young woman cutting grass 

  House With Jumping Dog 

House With Jumping Dog 

  Man Walking Dalmatians 

Man Walking Dalmatians 

  Girls With Matching Outfits 

Girls With Matching Outfits 

  Two Young Woman With White Car  

Two Young Woman With White Car  

  House With Curved Sidewalk  

House With Curved Sidewalk  

  Family On a Windy Day 

Family On a Windy Day