Overview

Joni Sternbach has spent over a decade creating portraits of surfers on beaches around the world in her ongoing series — Surfland. Surf pictures are traditionally studies of motion, instead with Sternbach's work we discover an ethnographic study in stillness, portraits captured in a silvery and antiqued timelessness.

A tinype is a wet plate process that dates back to the 1850s. A plate of iron is coated with dark bitumen, sensitized with a silver salt solution and exposed in a large-format camera. It’s a one-of-a-kind, nearly instant photograph—in effect, a Polaroid. Sternbach develops the image right there on the sands of Australia, England, France and both coasts of the United States. The hand-poured technique drenches the work in tactile details, rich tones and a weathered nostalgia. The work is a celebration and chronicle of modern surf culture. The resulting portraits are ethereal - surfers captured as free spirits in timeless silence - the historic process of tintype linking these individuals to adventurers and ocean-goers both past and future.

 

Sternbach is a native New Yorker. She has a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts and an MA from New York University/International Center of Photography. Her work is included in many public collections, with the most recent acquisition from the National Portrait Gallery in London, The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. She is the recipient of several grants including the Clarence John Laughlin award and NYFA.

 

Joni Sterbach acheived a 2nd place award in the Taylor Wessing Portrait competition, National Portrait Gallery in London 2019. Her monograph, SURF SITE TIN TYPE was published by Damiani Editore in March 2015 and most recently, SURFBOARD which was published and released November 2020.

 

 

Works
  • Joni Sternbach, #8 Ha’a, 2017
    Joni Sternbach
    #8 Ha’a, 2017
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    20.3 x 25.4 cm
    Edition of 15
    Joni Sternbach, #8 Ha’a, 2017
    £ 450.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #1 Thea+Maxwell, Santa Cruz, CA 2016, 2016
    Joni Sternbach
    #1 Thea+Maxwell, Santa Cruz, CA 2016, 2016
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    35 x 39 cm
    Edition of 8
    Joni Sternbach, #1 Thea+Maxwell, Santa Cruz, CA 2016, 2016
    £ 985.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #1 Lightning Bolts & Brewer, Hossegor, France, 2015
    Joni Sternbach
    #1 Lightning Bolts & Brewer, Hossegor, France, 2015
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    50.8 x 61 cm
    Joni Sternbach, #1 Lightning Bolts & Brewer, Hossegor, France, 2015
    £ 1,560.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #3 Water Connection, Santa Barbara, California, 2015
    Joni Sternbach
    #3 Water Connection, Santa Barbara, California, 2015
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    35 x 39 cm
    Edition of 8
    Joni Sternbach, #3 Water Connection, Santa Barbara, California, 2015
    £ 985.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #4 Lone Surfer, Montauk, New York, 2015
    Joni Sternbach
    #4 Lone Surfer, Montauk, New York, 2015
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    50.8 x 61 cm
    Edition of 8
    Joni Sternbach, #4 Lone Surfer, Montauk, New York, 2015
    £ 1,560.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #6 Maud, Santa Barbara, California, 2015
    Joni Sternbach
    #6 Maud, Santa Barbara, California, 2015
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    50.8 x 61 cm
    Edition of 8
    Joni Sternbach, #6 Maud, Santa Barbara, California, 2015
    £ 1,560.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #6 The Future, Santa Barbara, CA, 2015
    Joni Sternbach
    #6 The Future, Santa Barbara, CA, 2015
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    50.8 x 61 cm
    Edition of 8
    Joni Sternbach, #6 The Future, Santa Barbara, CA, 2015
    £ 1,560.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #6 Stacey, (Bobby-Jo) Stephen & Danielle, 2014
    Joni Sternbach
    #6 Stacey, (Bobby-Jo) Stephen & Danielle, 2014
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    20.3 x 25.4 cm
    Edition of 15
    Joni Sternbach, #6 Stacey, (Bobby-Jo) Stephen & Danielle, 2014
    £ 450.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #9 Oliver, 2013
    Joni Sternbach
    #9 Oliver, 2013
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    20.3 x 25.4 cm
    Edition of 15
    Joni Sternbach, #9 Oliver, 2013
    £ 450.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #1 Kazzie, 2011
    Joni Sternbach
    #1 Kazzie, 2011
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    20.3 x 25.4 cm
    Edition of 15
    Joni Sternbach, #1 Kazzie, 2011
    £ 450.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #2 Donald Takayama, 2010
    Joni Sternbach
    #2 Donald Takayama, 2010
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    20.3 x 25.4 cm
    Edition of 15
    Joni Sternbach, #2 Donald Takayama, 2010
    £ 450.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #6 Dan, 2007
    Joni Sternbach
    #6 Dan, 2007
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    20.3 x 25.4 cm
    Edition of 15
    Joni Sternbach, #6 Dan, 2007
    £ 450.00
Publications
Installation shots
Bibliography

Surfboard – Monograph 2020
Keeper Of The Hearth by Odette England
High Tide Montauk Point, artist book 2019
Surfing by Jim Heimann published by Taschen 2016  
The Memory of the Future, published by Musée de l’Elysée edited by Tatyana Franck 2016  
Surf Site Tin Type, published by Damiani Editore – Monograph 2015
The Passengers published by Cafe Royal Books 2014
Promise Land published by Cafe Royal Books 2013
The Photograph Not Taken by Will Steacy 2012
Face to Face: Ocean Portraits by Huw Lewis-Jones 2010
SurfLand, published by Photolucida essay by Phillip Prodger – Monograph 2009
Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort by Peter Galassi – published by MOMA 1991