Joni Sternbach uses large format cameras and early photographic processes to explore the present-day landscape and to make environmental portraits. Her work centers on our relationship with water. Her long-term projects involve the pursuit of understanding the American West and the series Surfland, which captures portraits of surfers in tintype.

Sternbach received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts and a MA from New York University and International Center of Photography, where she taught for over a decade. She is an advisory board member and founding faculty at Penumbra Foundation in NYC, where she currently teaches.


Sternbach’s work is held in many international and public collections including the LACMA, The High Museum, National Portrait Gallery in London, Joslyn Museum, MOCA Jacksonville, Nelson Atkins Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She is the recipient of several grants including NYFA and CAPS and Santo Foundation.

Installation shots

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