Unseen 1980s Photos of Staten Island by Christine Osinski
Photographer Christine Osinski took these images of Staten Island in 1983 and 1984. Back then she was shooting with a Linhoff lens on a 4×5 camera. I’ll admit, my experience in Staten Island is limited to a few rides on the ferry. But there is something so captivating about this series. These are ordinary people, living their lives in what could be any town in America. But they are in fact, residents of New York City’s ‘forgotten borough.’ I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.
“The Island was a goldmine for pictures. Everything seemed interesting,” Osinski says. “Mostly I went out walking for long periods of time. When I began photographing the people were very small in the landscape, but eventually I moved closer and they became the primary focus of my photographs. There were a lot of people outside, people having block parties, at parades and kids hanging out. People were very curious and having the 4×5 camera on a tripod helped me. It was just nice being outside and meeting people. You just never knew what was going to happen. It was an adventure.”
“I generally look to photograph the supporting players and not the main characters,” she says. “I tend to look at the minor players and the overlooked places. A lot of my work is about the familiar so that it begins to take on a more unusual presence. It makes you question your assumptions about things you know. Right under your nose there might be something that you’re not familiar with. Maybe taking pictures is an opportunity to make someone look again.”