“Change of Plans” exhibition and book release by Sidd Finch & Anna Orletski opens on July 30th at Playground Detroit.
The month of March held the promise of career opportunities for Zachary Oshinsky, but the pandemic forced a change of plans.
Canceled was a temporary move to Los Angeles, where he would be searching for full-time work as a photographer. The move was to follow an assignment as a one-time roadie for a Yoshi Flower and his band. He was asked to drive their van, generally help out and take pictures of the musicians on stage and off. The tour was also canceled because of the pandemic
Although Oshinsky had earned a bachelor’s degree in sports psychology at Olivet College, his interests had turned to photography, and he began using the professional name Sidd Finch, derived from a fictitious character portrayed in a sports magazine.
“I was about to leave for the airport when I got the call that the tour was canceled,” said Oshinsky, 24, of Sylvan Lake. “Soon, it was out of a desperation to create that I figured out what was next.”
He started taking pictures of friends in the Metro Detroit creative community, whether in music, art or entrepreneurial initiatives. People he knew passed along names of people they knew, and he wound up with subjects in 80 locations, individuals and small groups caught up in their change of plans.
“I thought I could use this project simply as a way to create a portfolio,” the photographer said. “The people mostly were on their porches because of social distancing.”
As those close to Oshinsky viewed the pictures, they offered encouragement and suggestions to forge the images into a book and art exhibit, both entitled Change of Plans. Friend Zach Hagy, who self-published some of his own work, took on the photo book project. The gallery Playground Detroit agreed to showcase 183 images enlarged by Unfolding Creative in Ferndale.
As he was putting the book and the exhibit together, Oshinsky worked with his personal partner, Anna Orletski, who introduced him to photography. She added pages of illustrations that can be colored by readers, and she collaborated on the exhibit design.
Focused on what he defines as “cool” efforts in the metro area, Oshinsky extended experience he had gained working on portraits, concerts and events.
“I think one of the most dramatic pictures I took is of a music producer who goes by the name Dagger,” Oshinsky said. “His hands are covering his face so you can just see his eyes and tattooed hands. Another dramatic picture is of a musician, Amp Fiddler, wearing a hat with the name of his deceased brother, who also was a musician.
“Some of these people hold other jobs to support themselves but have spent the pandemic making music or art or just relaxing, and I was taking snapshots of them during this important time.”
The photographer, who had his bar mitzvah at Temple Shir Shalom, has included images of three people in the Jewish community — video producer-director Sam Silverstein, DJ Rebecca Goldberg and musician Jonah Grey.
“When I went to college, I played four years of baseball while Anna encouraged me to try something else,” Oshinsky recalled. “She stressed that I wasn’t going to be able to play baseball forever and suggested photography. She’s a photographer as well and thought it was for me.”
Oshinsky took pictures for the college newspaper and launched his portfolio. During the rigors of the pandemic, he considers photography a healthy way to spend his time.
“Anna is in grad school for addiction counseling, and she’s a mental health advocate,” he said. “She uses art as a way of coping with anxieties. By giving me the knowledge and the skills to create when things aren’t going the right way, she definitely has been helpful. I’ve learned from her.”
The exhibit “Change of Plans” can be seen by appointment and from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at the gallery Playground Detroit, 2845 Gratiot. (313) 649-7741. playgrounddetroit.com. The book ($40) is available through the gallery.