Through the Lens of: Joni Sternbach
In her silver gelatin ocean portraits, photographer Joni Sternbach uses the familiarity of her subject matter as a blank screen for contemplation. Wavelength explores the elasticity of time, whether in permanent suspension or extending eternally.
Photographer Joni Sternbach says that her “methods are deliberate, antiquated, out of date. I don’t compete with the speed of the digital world.” She works with antique cameras to make unique, large-format prints using wet plate collodion photography—a laborious technique invented in the mid-19th century. Her tintypes and ambrotypes have the medium’s signature warm hue and a high-contrast monochromatic color range. Beaches, the ocean, and architecture make frequent appearances in her photographs, which she groups in series after a single subject. For example, “The Salt Effect” documented the desert in Utah, while “Abandoned” is a compilation of deserted waterfronts. While typically known for her land-and-seascapes, Sternbach has most recently been working on a series of portraits featuring surfers, titled “Surfland”, inspired by the ethnographies of August Sander.
American, Bronx, New York