SPILLED TEA © Mark Osterman

Mark Osterman: STILL LIFE



4-12-32 Shibaura, Minato-ku,

Tokyo, Japan

phone: +81-3-3455-7827




by Mark Osterman and France Scully Osterman

Other work (collodion) will be added soon. Meanwhile, please click on their galleries' links:


Tilt Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ:

Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC:


Cloister Court negative,
©2010 Scully & Osterman

Swaying Branches,
©2010 Scully & Osterman

Cloister Court (variant), ©2010 Scully & Osterman

Excerpts from The Light at Lacock:

The following images were made at Lacock Abbey from paper negatives exposed within small wooden cameras identical in design to those used by Talbot for his first experiments. A small hole in the front of each camera allowed viewing and focusing the projected image directly upon the sensitive paper within. Like viewing celestial scenes with a reflection telescope, the technique involved aiming the camera over the shoulder to reveal the subject behind.

Every morning at the Abbey barn we sensitized small sheets of paper with silver nitrate and table salt and fitted them into eight small cameras. Then, as a trapper sets a trap line, we walked the same steps as Talbot throughout the Abbey and grounds.

When usable daylight ceased, we retraced our steps and gathered up the cameras hoping none had been disturbed.

Then, back at the barn we opened up our cameras. Like cleaving geodes we were amazed by the gift of the fully formed negatives within; like water colors sketched by the sun.

It was easy to drift away from Talbot's path and stray beyond....

Breakfast at the Rectory, ©2010 Scully & Osterman

While scanning the first tests of our fragile negatives we were curious to see how they might translate as positive images. At the crossroads of these two technologies we discovered that digitally inverting the photogenic drawing negatives into positives revealed more than Talbot could have ever dreamed.

Inversion of the negatives also reversed the colors to hues unknown to Talbot. Some of these were retained in the exhibition prints while other positives were manipulated to reflect the amazing, though fugitive, colors one might expect from an original photogenic drawing from Talbot's time.

North Cloister Walk, ©2010 Scully & Osterman

Abbey Chimneys, ©2010 Scully & Osterman

Like recalling the memory of a dream, the positives were smooth, familiar and yet complex. There was no expectation that even a ghost of the hundreds of visitors who visit the Abbey on a typical day would appear on the paper during the two to six hour exposures. But looking at these pictures there is a presence of all who have ever walked there.

View from Talbot's Grave (variant),
©2010 Scully & Osterman

Pear Tree in the Cloisters,
©2010 Scully & Osterman


©2010 Scully & Osterman

From the Rabbit Hole (variant),

©2010 Scully & Osterman

Looking upward we noticed that the trees within the Abbey walls and in the surrounding fields were easily described by the sky around them. And so, we began to photograph the sky, even in the driving rain.

Light and foreshortened tree limbs seemed transformed into spheres with weight and mass, creating the illusion of a celestial body.

Ultimately it was energy that was the actual subject; the light at Lacock.

Mark Osterman and
France Scully Osterman

(Negative #17),
©2010 Scully & Osterman

This 5 1/2" 24 page square booklet is for sale.
Please visit publications page for more details.

updated Oct, 2015