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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Joni Sternbach

Active:  US
Contemporary American photographer. 
Artist statement: 
"We know that people are formed by the light and air, by their inherited traits, and their actions. We can tell from appearance the work someone does or does not do; we can read in his face whether he is happy or troubled," (August Sander from “Man of the Twentieth Century”)
Fascination with the history of art and photography has led me toward new territories.
Using a low-tech antique process to portray contemporary subject matter allows me to reference the history of photography in a physical way. Informed by the past but inspired by the present, my recent quest has been to reveal the relevance and beauty of one of the forgotten processes, wet-plate collodion.
My photographs over recent years have embraced the traditions of landscape, seascape, and architecture. It’s the human imprint on these views that interest me most. I’ve sought out relics and ruins reflecting that imprint to illuminate the past and our participation in it. Working with a large-format camera, I’ve concentrated on locations that are close to or directly on the water.
More recently I have begun to include the people that are present in some of these locations, such as Montauk’s Ditch Plains. Here at the eastern end of Long Island is a community of surfers. Their avocation takes place right on the water; they are constant elements in a shifting scene. My approach is a simple one: introductions are made, and each person willing to collaborate steps out into the water and poses. The sea acts as both a backdrop and a watery stage. As the tide recedes the rocky surface underneath is revealed, looking more like the moon than the beach. Photographing people here at Ditch is a natural extension of my interests, exploring yet another dimension of landscape and its evolving state.
Joni Sternbach (May 2, 2007)

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Supplemental information

2000 Camp Tintype, Dundee, NY (Wet-plate workshop with John Coffer)
1987 Master of Arts, New York University/International Center of Photography, NYC
1977 Bachelor of Fine Arts, School of Visual Arts, NYC
Solo exhibitions
2006 Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
2005 Galerie BMG. Woodstock, NY
2004 East Gallery. Brooklyn, NY
2000 Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
1995 Bergdorf Goodman, NY
1992 Julie Saul Gallery, NY
1988 Dittmar Gallery, Chicago, IL
1986 Stokker Stikker Gallery, NY
Group exhibitions
2007 "By Invitation Only," Kinz, Tillou + Feigen, NYC (opens May 19, 2007)
2007 "Sun Pictures to Mega-Pixels," Williamsbugh Art and Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY
2007 "Welcome to Our Neighborhood ," Edward Cella Art + Architecture, Santa Barbara, CA
2006 "Wallpaper LAB," Lennon, Weinberg Gallery, NYC
2006 "Winter Haikus,"Jenkins Johnson Gallery, SF, CA
2006 KBFA, Larchmont, NY
2006 "Nostalgic Noir," Chicago Art Source. Chicago, IL
2006 "Recent Landscape Photography: The Intimate and the Sublime," St Louis Art Museum, St Louis, MO
2005 "Inaugural Exhibition," Jenkins Johnson Gallery, NYC
2005 Slow Exposures 2005. Concord, GA
2005 "When We Were Young," Foley Gallery, NYC
2005 "New Mass. Art" Contemporary Artists Center, North Adams, MA
2005 "OnLine/OnSite," Photo Eye Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2004 "Permutations on the Picturesque," Senior and Shopmaker Gallery, NYC
2004 "Transfiguration," Akus Gallery, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT
2004 "Where the Island Begins," Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY (Catalogue)
2004 "Skies and Scapes," DFN Gallery, NYC
2004 "Fellowship 2004," Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, PA
2004 "Images of Time and Place: Contemporary Views of Landscape," Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, NY (online catalogue)
2003 "Two Person Show," Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
2003 "California Inspirations and Interpretations," White Room Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2002 "Merry Peace," Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2002 "Waves," Workspace Gallery, NYC
2002 "Two-Person Exhibition," Artift Exhibition Space, Phoenix, AZ
2002 "Body Language," Islip Art Museum, Islip, NY
2002 "Permeable Borders," Akus Gallery, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT
2002 "Small Works," Washington Square East Galleries, NYC
2001 "21st Century Suffragette," Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2001 "Aqua Marine," Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
2000 "Landscape, Skyscape, Seascape, Escape," New York University, NY
2000 Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, PA
1999 "5 Contemporary Photographers," Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
1999 "Anonymous," Workspace Gallery, NY
1996 "Circumstances Over Design," Robert Menschel Gallery, Syracuse, NY
1994 "Hidden Faces," Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1994 "Little Things," Art In General, NYC
1993 "Two Person Exhibition," Salena Gallery, Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus, NY
1993 "A Second Look: Women Photographers at the HRHRC," University Of Texas at Austin (catalogue)
1992 “Primer Catalogue," New Works Gallery. Chicago, IL
1991 "Pleasures And Terrors of Domestic Comfort Book," Museum Of Modern Art, NY
2004 Honorable Mention. Silver Eye Center for Photography
1992 Polaroid Artists Support Grant
1987 Light Work. Syracuse, NY Artist In Residence Grant
1986 New York Foundation For The Arts
1986 Artists Space. NY Exhibition Grant
1982 Creative Artists Public Service
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
The Cleveland Museum of Art
St. Louis Art Museum
University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center
Polaroid International Collection
Bibliotheque Nationale. Paris, France
International Center of Photography
Center for Photography at Woodstock
Light Work
Visting artist lectures
St. Louis Art Museum
Amherst College
New York University
Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus
University of California at Berkeley Extension, San Francisco, CA
School of Visual Arts, NY
Center for Photography, Woodstock, NY
1986-present Adjunct Instructor in Art. New York University
Wet-Plate Workshops International Center of Photography and Silver Eye Center for Photography
For the last four years I have led public and private workshops in wet-plate collodion photography. Students are given a brief history of the medium, learn the process of pouring collodion and shoot images with original brass lenses from that period.
2001-2002 Adjunct Professor of Art. Queensborough Community College. Bayside, NY
1999-2000 Adjunct Faculty. Bergen Community College. Paramus, NJ
1996 Instructor In Art, The American School, London  
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