September 20, 2013
Joni Sternbach, a Brooklyn-based photographer, uses both large format film and early photographic processes to create contemporary landscapes and seascapes.
The seascapes are interesting because she is doing what I do. She stands out there on the bluffs or at the edge of the shore with a dark cloth over her head that is attached to a 5x7 field camera and basically lets the picture take itself.
Joni Sternbach, Ocean details #3, gelatin silver print
Sternbach became known through her inclusion in the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort in 1991 and subsequent book. In the years that followed, her focus shifted to landscape subjects.
The interest in Stenbach's work is SurfLand---contemporary portraits of surfers using 19th-century photographic processes.
However, I am fascinated by what grew out of her early ocean studies--her sea/sky scapes:
Joni Sternbach, Sea/Sky #9, gelatin silver print
She say that:
these pictures are a direct result of persistence and happenstance. On the day I went out to make a portrait of the sea, the sky turned out to be more interesting. Feeling a commitment to the sea, yet disappointed by its surface of that particular day, I simply pointed the camera upwards. I became interested in reducing all of the natural elements to a mystery of formal abstraction.
We still recognize the sea and the sky in these abstractions, which is what I find appealing.