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 Joel Sternfeld  (1944 - )

About: Joel Sternfeld


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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: large format documentary color photography

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Joel Sternfeld, born 1944, New York City, is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important fine-art color photographers in the world, noted for his large-format documentary pictures of the United States and establishing color photography as a respected artistic medium.

He has many works in the permanent collections of the MOMA in New York and the Getty in Los Angeles.  He has also "raised" and influenced an entire generation of color photographers including Andreas Gursky who borrows many of Sternfeld's techniques and approaches.

Sternfeld earned a BA from Dartmouth College and teaches photography at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.  He began taking color photographs in 1970 after learning the color theory of Johannes Itten and Josef Albers.  Color is an important element of his photographs.

Another book, On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam (1997), is about violence in America. Sternfeld photographed sites of recent tragedies.  Next to each photograph is text about the events that happened at that location.  From 1991-1994 Sternfeld worked with Melinda Hunt to document New York City's public cemetery on Hart Island [1]. A book, "Hart Island" was published in 1998 [2]. Sternfeld has also published books about social class and stereotypes in America (Stranger Passing [2001]), an abandoned elevated railway in New York (Walking the High Line [2002]), and a book titled Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America ([2006]). A new book containing close-up portraits of delegates debating global warming at an United Nations conference in Montreal, titled When It Changed, is currently slated for publication in July 2007.


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