Sylvan Lake resident and 2014 West Bloomfield High School graduate Zach Oshinsky recently had photos published in a book.

Sylvan Lake resident and 2014 West Bloomfield High School graduate Zach Oshinsky recently had photos published in a book.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Sylvan Lake resident has book of photos published during pandemic

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 20, 2020

 West Bloomfield High School graduate Zach Oshinsky is pictured with Royal Oak resident Anna Orletski. Orletski provided illustrations for a book of photos Oshinsky had published.

West Bloomfield High School graduate Zach Oshinsky is pictured with Royal Oak resident Anna Orletski. Orletski provided illustrations for a book of photos Oshinsky had published.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Pictured is a photo taken by Sylvan Lake resident Zach Oshinsky. Oshinsky’s photos have been displayed at a gallery in Detroit.

Pictured is a photo taken by Sylvan Lake resident Zach Oshinsky. Oshinsky’s photos have been displayed at a gallery in Detroit.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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SYLVAN LAKE — Earlier this year, Sylvan Lake resident Zach Oshinsky had some pretty big plans.

The 2014 West Bloomfield High School graduate is a photographer, and he had planned to get in a van and go on tour with a friend of his, a singer and guitar player.

Oshinsky’s adventure was set to take place in March.

He was going to take photos on the tour, which was slated to include stops in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto.

Oshinsky’s musician friend is a former Michigan resident who now lives in California.

Following the tour, Oshinsky planned to live in Los Angeles for a month to find out if he would like living there. But as has become a common theme for so many others, when the pandemic hit, his life and plans were altered.

There was to be no tour in March and no move to Los Angeles in April. Instead of taking shots in distant cities, Oshinsky decided to focus his lens closer to home. He started taking pictures of people he considers creative, primarily in the city of Detroit.

Subjects of Oshinsky’s photos included a music producer, a painter, a muralist, a DJ and a musician. Many of the shots were taken with the subjects on their front porch.

Given that not everybody has been comfortable leaving home during the pandemic, from Oshinsky’s perspective, “Being able to capture this time was, I think, a big thing.”

He was referred to people and did Instagram searches to find his subjects. About halfway through the photo shoots, he was told about “the idea of putting it into a gallery and making a book.”

Both of those ideas have come to fruition.

Oshinsky decided to have his photos, along with illustrations provided by Royal Oak resident Anna Orletski, turned into a book, which was published locally.

Orletski is also a photographer, and Oshinsky said, “She got me into it.”

The photos from the book were also put on display at PLAYGROUND DETROIT, a gallery in Detroit. The book and gallery display are titled “Change of Plans.”

For both, Oshinsky goes by the name Sidd Finch, a fictional baseball player featured in a 1985 Sports Illustrated article.

Oshinsky’s recent journey is one he likely wouldn’t have embarked on, had it not been for the pandemic.

“I would’ve been off doing other things,” he said. “In a way, I am grateful, because I met all these people and connected. … It wouldn’t have happened without the pandemic.”

Paulina Petkoski is one of PLAYGROUND DETROIT’S owners, and she said over 100 portraits from the book are on the walls of the gallery.

“I think the concept and the title for the book and exhibition couldn’t be more appropriate at a time where all of the gallery programming, exhibitions and etc. for the whole calendar year had been abruptly altered, along with everybody else’s plans, businesswise or personal,” Petkoski said. “So, being able to come back to the gallery after having been closed for the most part of the year, and come back with a show that is so thoughtful in representing the really diverse community of people that are present in Detroit in the creative scene, felt really nice.”

Oshinsky’s first shoot for the project was in April, with the last one coming in June. What he ended up with is a book that is approximately 160 pages.

“At first, it was just a practice, a creative practice,” Oshinsky said. “I was trying to get better at taking pictures. From that, it turned into meeting all these people, hearing their stories, hearing what had happened to them that was different, how every person’s journey or experience with the pandemic was different, and gathering all that information. I think that was the thing that drew me to it.”

Oshinsky considers the downtown Detroit area to be one that is “flourishing” with creative talent.

“I want people to see the very cool things that are being made in Detroit by all these people that are doing a lot of very cool things,” he said. “I think the whole thing has been a good, fun process. It’s been a lot of learning, being that this is my first time doing something like this.”

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