SurfLand is an ongoing project of contemporary portraits of surfers created by using the historic wet-plate collodion process. The photographs are a unique blending of subject matter and photographic technique. Using the instantaneous wet-plate collodion process, Joni Sternbach is creating one-of-a-kind tintypes that are imbued with a feeling of ambiguity, timelessness and mystery.
Landscapes, seascapes, and the human imprint on these views have been her focus. Returning year after year to the same location has led her 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. She is fascinated by the physical and poetic way that they inhabit America’s watery landscapes..
She works with a large-format camera and wet process that must be prepared and developed on location. The very nature of collodion is spontaneous and unpredictable. It is precisely this raw quality of the process that suits the subject matter, giving it a distinctive appearance and echoing important traditions of nineteenth-century anthropological photography.