A Look at Joel Sternfeld’s Early Photographs

Joel Sternfeld’s early photographs take us back in time to the 1970s and 1980s, giving us a glimpse of the people, spaces, and style that helped define the era. Taken at a shopping mall, this photograph, titled New Jersey, (#26), May/June 1980, is part of a collection on view at Luhring Augustine, New York. Photo courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.
 

Many know Joel Sternfeld as the photographer behind the now-iconic images of the wild landscape that grew up on the High Line when the trains stopped running in the 1980s. But his portfolio spans four decades, and a broad collection of his first works is now on view at his gallery, Luhring Augustine, New York in Chelsea.

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Joel Sternfeld’s early photographs take us back to the United States of the 1970s and 1980s, giving us a glimpse of the people, spaces, and style that helped define the time. According to the gallery:

“Sternfeld’s 1970’s America is a depicted as a bittersweet era filled with exuberance but constrained by a sense of a society not living up to its ideals. This was also a time of excitement in photography as emergent color pictures struggled to compete with the more established world of black and white images. This exhibition is replete with examples of the societal and artistic conditions present at the time of the work’s production, and it allows us to gain a fresh understanding of Sternfeld’s achievement in the eleven bodies of work he went on to make in the subsequent four decades.”

We highly recommend a visit to the gallery to see the works before the exhibit closes on until Saturday, February 4. There are approximately 70 photographs on display, and collectively they explore a range of themes, including color, humor, social conditions, and the environment. The gallery is located on West 24th Street, just a half-block away from the High Line. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

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