Overview

“Sternbach makes her photographs in tintype, a labor-intensive technique little changed since it’s invention in the 1850s. Spontaneous and unpredictable, the streaks and tonal variations in the finished photographs reflect their hand-made character, the corners rubbed where they were held in the camera.

 

Posing on rocky outcrops, in front of uprooted trees, or on thick mats of woody flotsam, Sternbach’s surfers inhabit strange landscapes. The best of Sternbach’s photographs convey insistent longing. They are about relationships – the relationship between surfer and board, between human and landscape, between photographer and subject, and between the surfers themselves…she has discovered a new sort of home – a place without walls, defined only by belonging and the physicality of existence.”

Joni Sternbach is an American artist, photographer, and filmmaker. Over the course of a career spanning many decades, her portrait-based work explores a variety of themes, including domesticity and the family, and sexuality and the body. Issues of gender, identity and feminism were the most critical themes in her early work from the 1980s-1990s, where the female figure—including her own— was a central motif.

 

In her current work, Sternbach experiments with a variety of historic photographic processes and is best known for her wet plate collodion tintype portraits of surfers and surfboards, made around the globe.

 

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.

 

She is represented in Los Angeles by Von Lintel Gallery, in London by Black Box Projects, in Cornwall by Circle Contemporary, in Paris by Galerie Hug and in East Hampton, New York by Arc Fine Art

Works
  • Joni Sternbach, 14.08.26 #1 Tim, 2017
    Joni Sternbach
    14.08.26 #1 Tim, 2017
    Original Tintype
    Shot on location with a portable dark box
    20 x 26 cm unframed
    31 x 38 cm framed
    Joni Sternbach, 14.08.26 #1 Tim, 2017
    £ 3,600.00
  • Joni Sternbach, 14.08.30 #8 Chris+Rebecca on the Gannel, 2017
    Joni Sternbach
    14.08.30 #8 Chris+Rebecca on the Gannel, 2017
    Original Tintype
    Shot on location with a portable dark box
    20 x 26 cm unframed
    31 x 38 cm framed
    1/1
    Joni Sternbach, 14.08.30 #8 Chris+Rebecca on the Gannel, 2017
    £ 3,600.00
  • Joni Sternbach, 14.08.28 #4 Corinne, 2017
    Joni Sternbach, 14.08.28 #4 Corinne, 2017
    Sold
  • Joni Sternbach, 14.08.30 #1 Little Fistral, 2017
    Joni Sternbach
    14.08.30 #1 Little Fistral, 2017
    Original Tintype
    Shot on location with a portable dark box
    20 x 26 cm unframed
    31 x 38 cm framed
    1/1
    Joni Sternbach, 14.08.30 #1 Little Fistral, 2017
    £ 3,600.00
  • 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
    £ 1,200.00
  • Joni Sternbach, #3 Kalani + Kelly Slater, 2017
    Joni Sternbach
    #3 Kalani + Kelly Slater, 2017
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    20.3 x 25.4 cm
    Edition of 15
    Joni Sternbach, #3 Kalani + Kelly Slater, 2017
    £ 450.00
  • 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 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, #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
    £ 1,800.00
  • Joni Sternbach, 15.11.07 #2 The Present, 2015, 2015
    Joni Sternbach
    15.11.07 #2 The Present, 2015, 2015
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    50.8 x 61 cm
    Edition of 8
    Joni Sternbach, 15.11.07 #2 The Present, 2015, 2015
    £ 1,800.00
  • Joni Sternbach, 17.12.06 #6 Kara Akiyama, 2017, 2015
    Joni Sternbach
    17.12.06 #6 Kara Akiyama, 2017, 2015
    Archival pigment print (from original tintype)
    50.8 x 61 cm
    Edition of 8
    Joni Sternbach, 17.12.06 #6 Kara Akiyama, 2017, 2015
    £ 1,800.00
  • 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