Joni Sternbach, 05.02.21 #8 Bent Tree / Jekyll Island

April 24, 2020

Joni Sternbach

05.02.21 #8 Bent Tree / Jekyll Island, 2005

From the series Abandoned

Full Plate Ambrotype

Signed in pen on verso

20.3 x 25.4 cm (8 x 10 inches)



£ 3,000 framed inc. VAT + delivery





Joni Sternbach's photographs embrace the traditions of landscape, seascape, and architecture. The artist is drawn to the human imprint on these views. Sternbach searches out relics and ruins reflecting that imprint to reference the past and our collective history. Working with a large format wet-plate camera, Sternbach scouts locations that are close to or directly on the water. It is at the edge of the land and sea that the mystery of an abandoned past is revealed. Structures that have long ago lost their functionality are now emblematic of a more primitive and lost time. These views represent the last stand, the human effort as can be most poignantly seen through decay and the return to nature. Illuminating this fragile place, Joni Sternbach intends to draw attention to these sites and their contradictory nature.


The wet-plate collodion process, widely used in 1860's, has a profound relevance to this body of work. Ironically this process frequently documented the dawn of the industrial revolution and its locations. To employ it now creates a visual thread. Sternbach uses period lenses and original chemical formulas to reference this history. The artist also maintains a very spare and contemporary aesthetic to differentiate her work from what has come before. Sternbach has mixed up the standards that her photographic forefathers have used as well. She shoots landscapes with portrait lenses and prefer lenses that don't completely cover the size glass she has chosen, giving Sternbach's pictures a vignetted effect. All of these choices are meant to show the viewer a little more of the craft than is typically expected from this medium. The hand poured collodion process produces unique and instantaneous positives on a glass plate (ambrotypes) or tin (ferrotypes) as well as negatives. The entire process is done on location, with a portable darkroom.


art for good

10% of all Black Box Projects sales will be donated to Hospital Rooms, a London-based charity championing the healing power of art by commissioning world-class artists to create permanent site-specific art installations and art programmes for secure mental health facilities in the NHS service.