Katy Osterwald


Posted in Photography, Quotes by photokaty on January 16, 2012

1. The muteness of a photograph matters as much as its ability to speak.

2. The juxtaposition of photographs matters as much as the muteness of each.

3. All photography fattens. Objectifcation is inescapable.

4. Photography cannot secure the integrity of its subject any more than it can satisfy the need to touch or taste.

5. Good ideas are easily bungled.

6. Banal ideas can be rescued by personal investment and beautiful execution.

7. Lacking an appealing surface, a photograph should depict surfaces appealingly.

8. A photograph that refuses to market anything but its own complexities is perverse. Perversion is bliss.

9. A backlit object is a pregnant object.

10. To disregard symbols is to disregard a part of human perception.

11. Photography may employ tools and characteristics of reportage without being reportage.

12. The only photojournalistic images that remain interesting are the ones that produce or evoke myths.

13. A photographer in doubt will get better results than a photographer caught up in the freedom of irony.

14. The aestheticizing eye is a distant eye. The melancholic eye is a distant eye. The ironic eye is a distant eye.

15. One challenge in photography is to outdistance distance. Immersion is key.

16. Irony may be applied in homeopathic doses.

17. A lyrical photograph should be aware of its absurdity. Lyricism grows from awareness.

18. For the photographer, everyone and everything is a model, including the photograph itself.

19. The photography characterized by these sentences is informed by conceptual art.

20. The photography characterized by these sentences is not conceptual photography.


“Sentences on Photography” was initially published in “Triple Canopy”, Issue #12: “Black Box”, May 5, 2011



Posted in Photography by photokaty on March 4, 2010

I’ve been feeling inspired again by my classmates and friends who use blogs consistently to give this blog a go again, hopefully with a little encouragement from them I’ll be able to keep it going.

Freaks of Photography

Posted in Photography by photokaty on April 30, 2008

I came across this old photography article while researching the old Kansas City Workhouse, and thought it was interesting. It is from the June 13, 1897 edition of the Kansas City Times (over 100 years old!).

Freaks of Photography


Explanation of Strange Figures That Appear in Pictures

From the American Journal of Photography


It is no uncommon experience to find upon new plates certain images for which there seems to be no possible explanation, their startling and unaccountable appearance being “wropt in mistry,” causing astonishment not unmixed with uncanny feeling. A gentleman made an exposure upon the interior of a friend’s house; he was doubtful of the time, and proceeded to develop for under-exposure. To his great surprise the plate developed quickly, and to his greater surprise the image was an interior quite different from that upon which he had exposed. The plate was from a fresh box, and could not possible have had a previous exposure.

Another instance of the kind, having quite a sensational and tragic ending, is on record. An exposure was made upon a view having a river in the foreground. The photographer, which developing this particular plate, was perfectly astounded by an appearance which he had not seen while taking the photograph, and for which he could in no way account. On completing the development there was plainly revealed in the foreground of the picture the figure of a woman, apparently floating in the water. Not many weeks after, to complete the mystery, the body of a woman was found in the river at the exact spot where the photograph had been taken. Again, not long since, the account of a traveling photographer, who, upon making an exposure upon the exterior of a reputed haunted house, discovered at one of the windows a portrait of the murdered man through whom the house had gained its evil name. In another case three distinct images, having no connection one with the other, were impressed upon a single film. The plate was exposed upon a garden in the evening—nothing remarkable being seen—but when placed in the developer a man’s hat, of old-fashioned shape, a child’s dress and a dog were distributed over the image of the garden. Such mysterious images were more common in the days of wet plates than now.

A few years back Prof. Burton investigated the matter. Upon tracing back the history of the glass he found that it had been used for other films, and that the images which appeared undoubtedly arose from the remains of previous images. The old glass was thus proved to be the source of the ghosts; it only deepened the scientific mystery, while it cleared away the supernatural. The glass traced by Burton had been washed for some weeks, immersed in strong nitric acid, and every means taken to insure chemical cleanliness; yet, in spite of all this, enough energy remained latent to form a developmental images upon the new film, whether by chemical or physical force remains to be discovered. A complete solution of the difficulty would probably throw considerable light upon the nature of photographical images in general; at least it seems to indicate that light is not absolutely essential in the formation of latent images on a sensitive film.