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April 7, 2008
Surfers may be a special breed of people, re-enacting ancient rituals of play at the edges of water and land, revelling in nature at once turbulent and peaceful, finding pleasure and delight in blissful moving balance on the crest of a wave. While in the act of surfing, they are in the moment and outside of time. Photographer Joni Sternbach has documented modern-day surfers using the relatively ancient technique of wet-plate collodion photography. The results are appropriately romantic, timeless, and stunningly beautiful. Lens Culture is delighted to present 21 images from her ongoing series of 8" x 10" unique tintypes.
I had the pleasure of meeting Joni Sternbach last year at PhotoLucida, the excellent biennial photo festival in Portland. It was almost magical to hold the tintypes in my hands and to see the light playing off the metallic surface. They had the feeling of re-discovered lost treasures. I was pleasantly reminded of her work, again, when I saw it as part of highly-selective international portfolio review sessions called Critical Mass (also run by the folks who organize Photolucida). So, I am quite pleased that we are able to present a generous selection of her work here for your enjoyment. Cheers!