My photographs over recent years engage traditions
of landscape, seascape, and architecture. Working with a large-format
camera and historic process (wet-plate collodion), I have concentrated
on locations that are close to or directly on the water. At this juncture
between land and sea, I explore subject matter in a constant state of
For the past couple years I have photographed surfers in Montauk and in California. Their activity takes place on the water; the people are persistent elements in a shifting scene. The singular, primitive act of surfing on the water is tempered by the social and negotiated state of human interaction on the shore. The surfers act as a bridge between the sea as an unbridled force of nature and the shoreline, a place governed by social expectations.
My approach is simple: introductions are made, and each person willing to collaborate steps 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 a beach. Photographing people at surfing locations is a natural extension of my interests, exploring yet another dimension of landscape and its evolving state.
Working with a "wet" instantaneous process that must be prepared and developed on location serves me well. It draws spectators and entices new subjects. Using collodion compels me to compose carefully before sensitizing the plate, yet its very nature is spontaneous and unknowable. The raw quality of the process suits the subject matter, and the distinctive appearance of the finished works echoes nineteenth-century traditions of anthropological photography.
— Joni Sternbach
"I do not love JOBURG. I crave it. I am obsessed with JOBURG. I treat its streets and its people much like a stalker would. I am a menace. JOBURG is not just home, she is a muse."
Raw, unvarnished, straight from the night-lit corners of Harlem, New York. In the artist's own words, "Photography is a dissemination point for me to say that there is beauty in everyone."