In choosing photogravure, New York artist Lothar Osterburg follows in the tradition of the photographers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and like them he is able, through his mastery of the technique of platemaking and printing, to control with precision each step of this highly demanding process.
The process of arriving at a final image is in itself a journey through time and space. First, Osterburg constructs and stages scale models from memory. Ranging from miniatures of no more than an inch across to dominating, the models are fashioned of readily available materials—vegetables, toothpicks, books—often rescued from dumpsters and piles of refuse on city streets. These are placed within an environment also of found materials. Seen through the photographic lens, the scene then appears life-size. The soft focus, infinite range of velvet blacks and rich grays, the scratches and traces from the printmaking process, and the use of rough, unfinished models all work together to suspend the final image somewhere between the real and the imaginary.