First Pictures By Joel Sternfield

First Pictures By Joel SternfieldFirst Pictures By Joel Sternfield

This is the first book of Sternfeld’s largely unseen early colour photographs. In 1969 Sternfeld began working with a 35 mm camera and Kodachrome film, and First Pictures (Steidl, ISBN 978-3869303093, $78) contains works from this time until 1980. Here Sternfeld develops traits that appear in his mature work: irony, a politicised view of America, concern for the social condition. But there are also pictures that bear little relation to his later work: colour arrangements that parallel those of Eggleston, as well as street photography which Sternfeld ceased making in 1976.

The photographs in First Pictures were made at a time when colour photography was struggling to assert itself against the authoritative black and white tradition, making this book a revelation both in Sternfeld’s oeuvre and in the history of contemporary photography. ❚

© All copyright remains with photographer Joel Sternfield and publisher Steidl.