The internationally renowned photographer will be exhibiting her striking portraits of surfers at Circle Gallery’s ‘Coastlines’ show this September. 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, award-winning US photographer Joni Sternbach spent the summer of 2014 documenting the surfers and the surf communities of North Cornwall, with Circle Gallery Director Lucy Thorman being one of her subjects.
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. A complete contrast to mainstream surf imagery usually depicting big waves and high energy action shots, her portrayal of surfing puts the sport in a completely new light. Turning to historic photographic techniques Joni captures the essence and even something primordial within her static portraits and landscapes.
“I came to Cornwall because of a photo I saw and commented on Instagram in the Spring of 2014. Something to the effect of “wish I could shoot there.” I’m not sure which photo that was at the time, but a woman named Wendy also commented “we can make that happen, come stay with us.” So I did! Wendy and her boyfriend, surfer Lee Bartlett, are the real reason I came to Newquay and they were so welcoming. They introduced me to the surf scene around Newquay and put me in touch with Louise, the editor of SurfGirl Magazine who helped spread the word and that is how I got so many people involved ” commented Joni Sternbach.
My favourite image? I have a bunch. I photographed Izzy Keane, Lucy Kirkland and Lucy Thorman. There’s something about this picture – It doesn’t look like any other picture I’ve ever taken. It’s these women who are caught in time; I don’t know how to describe it. It kind of kills me. 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.
Cornish based photographer and writer Caroline Marrack will also have an exhibition. Caroline’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.
Paying homage to the vintage photographic techniques and equipment used, the opening weekend of the show will also feature a camera obscura pop-up by Tim Hutton, photographer, yurt maker and environmentalist.
About the Gallery
A Fine Art Gallery located in North Cornwall, the Circle Contemporary shows a selection of abstract and figurative artists whose primary inspiration is the natural landscape. Gallerists Lucy Thorman and John O’Carroll run the gallery with a professional but relaxed vibe, in keeping with west coast gallery convention. John O’Carroll is also a visual artist with an onsite studio. The gallery is a cool and minimal space which is continually evolving, collecting emerging and well known artists, alternating group and solo exhibitions, focusing on fresh and innovative art.
Coastlines – Fine Art Photography Show featuring Joni Sternbach and Caroline Marrack
Opening reception: 22 SEP, 12-4pm. Show running until 20 OCT 2018
Circle Contemporary Gallery, Hawksfield, Atlantic Highway, Wadebridge, Cornwall PL27 7LR