Joel Sternfeld (1991-10-25)

Joel Sternfeld
Practice: Photography
Date of Lecture: 1991-10-25

Sternfeld_Joel_w01McLean, Virginia, December 1978, © Joel Sternfeld, Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Joel Sternfeld’s interest in suburban landscape and reportage is tempered by a sense of the visually ironic. Images such as the well-known McLean, Virginia, December 1978 exemplify his ability to capture the puzzling and unexpected. A collection of Sternfeld’s work that continues his critical examination of post-capitalist society entitled American Prospects (1987) was published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Texas. A recent exhibition of Sternfeld’s photographs held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Summer 2001) called Stranger Passing featured portraits of Americans shot within the commercial environments they work in and inhabit.

Sternfeld spoke on the occasion of an exhibition of his work at Pace/MacGill in New York called Campagna Romana: The Countryside of Rome. These photographs explore the underlying paradoxes of contemporary urban developments situated within close proximity to the legacy of the Roman past. As a region that has sustained architectural growth for over two thousand years, much of Sternfeld’s work was done in the name of historical preservation. To honour his achievement, the city of Rome awarded him the Prix de Rome. Sternfeld’s lecture featured colour images drawn from his earlier work as well as photographs from his most recent project.

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