In­ter­na­tion­ally renowned pho­tog­ra­pher Joni Sternbach will be ex­hibit­ing her strik­ing por­traits of surfers at Cir­cle Gallery’s ‘Coast­lines’ show this au­tumn. A fine art pho­tog­ra­phy show, Coast­lines pro­files the work of two dis­tinc­tive artists – Joni Sternbach from the US and Caro­line Mar­rack from Corn­wall - both in­spired by the north Cor­nish coast, con­cen­trat­ing on con­tem­po­rary ana­logue pho­tog­ra­phy.

Cel­e­brated for her unique por­traits of surfers us­ing tra­di­tional wet plate pho­tog­ra­phy. Work­ing with a large for­mat cam­era and us­ing hand-poured plates with a por­ta­ble dark room, Sternbach has pro­filed a fas­ci­nat­ing range of peo­ple, both known and un­known on prized surf­ing beaches around the world.

Award-win­ning US pho­tog­ra­pher Joni Sternbach spent the sum­mer of 2014 doc­u­ment­ing the surfers and the surf com­mu­ni­ties of North Corn­wall. “Wendy MCG and her boyfriend Lee Bartlett are the real rea­son I came to Newquay and they in­tro­duced me to the surf scene around Newquay and put me in touch with Louise Searle, the ed­i­tor of Sur­f­girl Mag­a­zine who helped spread the word and that is how I got so many peo­ple in­volved – through the scene and word of mouth.”

Turn­ing to his­toric pho­to­graphic tech­niques Joni cap­tures the essence and even some­thing pri­mor­dial within her por­traits and land­scapes.

“I learned the wet-plate col­lo­dion process in 1999, how­ever, I had done many other his­toric print­ing process long be­fore that. I am in­ter­ested in the con­ver­sa­tion be­tween tech­niques of the past and cur­rent ideas,” ex­plains Joni. “I think pho­tog­ra­phy is the most ex­cit­ing when it com­bines tech­niques and pro­cesses for a sub­ject mat­ter that you might not ex­pect would work well to­gether. How­ever, find­ing that syn­chro­nis­tic match be­tween process and project is not as sim­ple as one might think!”

The images taken in Corn­wall were a great suc­cess and some of these will be at the Coast­lines ex­hi­bi­tion. “My favourite im­age? I have a bunch. I pho­tographed Corinne Evans, Izzy Keane, Lucy Kirk­land and Lucy Thor­man … it’s these women who are caught in time; I don’t know how to de­scribe it. Some­times there are ex­pres­sions – if you look at Izzy’s eyes, she has su­per light blue eyes and they went white, so it’s freaky the way that she looks and yet there’s a soft­ness and it looks like if Wood­stock were on a beach in 2014 this would be it. They look like free spir­its”, says Joni.

Cor­nish based pho­tog­ra­pher and writer Caro­line Mar­rack’s work fo­cuses on images cap­tured on vin­tage film cam­eras dur­ing coastal walks in her Cor­nish home­land. In a world of dig­i­tal me­dia, tak­ing pho­to­graphs with older, slower tools en­ables both artists to work within the lim­i­ta­tions of the cam­era, mak­ing a space for po­etry.

Coast­lines - Fine Art Pho­tog­ra­phy Show fea­tur­ing Joni Sternbach and Caro­line Mar­rack is show­ing at Cir­cle Con­tem­po­rary Gallery, Hawks­field, Wade­bridge in Corn­wall from the end of Septem­ber. www.cir­cle­con­tem­po­

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