The subject matter of the black and white photographs in this portfolio are unpretentious stuff –trees, houses, fences—in unimportant places – a backyard, a street corner, a hillside – in short, nothing newsworthy or likely to attract tourists. There are no birds-eye or worms-eye views nor dogs that look six feet long. The items of subject matter elicit their names as readily as if they were the real things. One would not associate symbolic or generic meanings with the subject mater or locations (unless “look like” is taken to be a case of symbolism) or with the way it is shown. The associative load of the subject matter and the vantage from which it is shown are equally ordinary. One might say, they fit. In addition one might note that there are no persons knowing they have looks for us to look at, nor any persons caught looking like they never look for us to look at; the photographs don’t in fact have a subject, only subject matter. There is no blurring of detail by selective focus or motion of objects; no deviation from facts that could be taken as a lyrical or expressive deformation of the subject matter. As tonal reproductions of the appearance of the world they show clearly all detail. Nothing loses visibility inexplicably into darkness or unmodulated white. The relation of the tones corresponds to the relative brightness of the light that reflects from surfaces in the world.
A valuing of these photographs could go two ways: these are just what stuff looks like, these photographs are remarkably true to the essential possibility of photography – description of appearance.
Harvey Osterhoudt (Palenville, NY) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors, from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York and his Master of Fine Arts from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He has exhibited in solo as well as two person shows throughout the country including a 2004 show at the Sarah Morthland Gallery, as well as being part of numerous invitational and juried group shows. Some of his publications include Indiana Artists’ Showcase, Texas Fine Arts Association 1980 Annual Exhibition, and Eleventh Biennial Michiana Regional. Selections of Harvey’s work can be found in various permanent collections including Center for Photography at Woodstock, Chrysler Museum at Norfolk, and Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.
Harvey received CPW’s Fellowship in 2007 and was selected by Howard Greenberg, founder of CPW and owner of the Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC. To view his fellowship portfolio, click here.