SECOND PRIZE: Joni Sternbach

16.02.20 #1 Thea+Maxwell from the series Surfland by Joni Sternbach, February 2016
© Joni Sternbach
Second Prize: £3,000

American artist Joni Sternbach was born in the Bronx and is a native New Yorker. She is a Visiting Artist at Cooper Union School of Art and faculty member at the International Centre of Photography and The Penumbra Foundation in New York, where she teaches wet plate collodion. Sternbach uses early photographic processes to create contemporary landscapes and environmental portraits and her work centres on man’s relationship to water. Her long-term projects involve the pursuit and understanding of the Western landscape and the series Surfland, which features tintype portraits of surfers.

16.02.20 #1 Thea+Maxwell (Thea Adler and Maxwell Schultz) was taken in February 2016 at Davenport Landing, Santa Cruz, California, USA. Sternbach says: “This is the first image I made in February when I was invited to give a talk and book signing in Santa Cruz. My hosts and I planned a shooting day prior to the event and they arranged for several local surfers to have their portraits taken. Maxwell was the first to arrive and he brought along his lovely girlfriend. For me, this photograph addresses many aspects of what it means to make a portrait. Faced by someone entirely unknown, I hoped to create a dynamic complexity within the picture that is both unique to that person and also understandable to others, as well as to share with the world just one moment.”

Judges’ comments: “The judges noted Sternbach’s technical mastery of a challenging and archaic photographic process to produce this compelling portrait.”