The work of David Osborn is striking for a number of reasons. The first is its sheer scale; his pieces often measure in excess of six feet. He uses the finest equipment and development processes in the world to create images that are shocking in their attention to detail. Vegetation, stones, water and architecture all resonate with a tangle of virtuosic minutiae. The “real” is captured — but radically so. Osborn’s work can’t fail to snag and rivet your attention. Thus, his cliffs, bays, walls and shores remain perennially brittle. They’re razor sharp and sewn shut with the tight reverie of an Invocation.
However, his images transcend mere technical virtuosity. Osborn is from the UK and his images of English countryside are fraught with the dreamy mythos that inspired the likes of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Arthurian legend. He doesn’t offer mere copies of nature; he draws viewers into a world still rife with gods, a primal world still lucent, missile and rising — it’s new in hundreds of ways each time you see it. Mr. Osborn has shown off his photographic prowess in areas as diverse as Dubai, Cincinnati and Sussex. Each space offers the opportunity for a new sensibility to emerge. His images of Dubai, for instance, are mildly surreal. “Burj Khalifa” captures the world’s tallest building with haunting brilliance.
In fact, Osborn brings some of his Romantic (English) magic to bear even on his images of the Middle East. They’re Sublime — that is to say, “Sublime” in the sense that Edmund Burke outlined in his essay on the subject in the eighteenth century. Specifically, they’re unnerving. Similarly, his images of Ohio scenery and cityscapes are scarily a little “off” — they’re gorgeous, but they also offer a hint of impending danger. Like matches, they hold heat. However, all it takes is one glance to strike a flame. Put simply, Osborn makes it remarkable easy to catch fire. And that’s a good thing. In fact, to borrow a song lyric, it’s a lovely way to burn.
Lastly, the size and impeccable quality of Mr. Osborn’s pieces lend themselves to being displayed in expansive homes — particularly with regard to the images of English scenery. Or, perhaps even more appropriately, they would strike an extraordinary note in a well-appointed office. Everything about them is massively brilliant. Mr. Osborn’s photographs are a shortcut to underscoring financial success and uncommon, exquisite taste.