Photo Gallery: Welcome to SurfLand


Sometimes it feels as though the better our photographic technology gets, the more we lose a certain depth and individuality in the art. Why take time to wait for the light to change if you can just change the filter on your iPhone? Perhaps in some part in response to this, Joni Sternbach, whose haunting, textural work we discovered over at Lost at E Minor, creates one of a kind tintypes, using a large format camera and the wet-plate collodion process, a delicate, traditional technique that has been unchanged since the 19th century. For one of her ongoing projects, which she calls SurfLand, she sets up shop on the beach to record those nebulous beings who can flit between the worlds of land and sea. That’s right, surfers. As she writes on her website, “Landscapes, seascapes, and the human imprint on these views has been my focus. Returning year after year to the same location has led me to examine the juncture between land and sea, exploring subject matter in a constant state of transition. Surfers are an integral part of this liminal state. I am fascinated by the physical and poetic way that they inhabit America’s watery landscapes…The very nature of collodion is spontaneous and unpredictable. It is precisely the raw quality of the process that suits the subject matter, giving it a distinctive appearance and echoing important traditions of nineteenth-century anthropological photography.” Click through to see a gallery of some of our favorites.