March 2012 Insight

by Jacqueline Tobin

Joni Sternbach

March 01, 2012 — When I was 12 years old, my father started a family newsletter called The Tobin Tatler—I had to write the articles, shoot the photography and layout the pages with my three sisters. I remember spending hours in the darkroom developing film and making prints. It was so magical, seeing the images appear before my eyes, then dodging and burning prints to produce the photos I wanted.

Fast-forward to current day where everyone is armed with a digital camera or an iPhone, and I am longing for the old days when working on The Tobin Tatler was so gratifying. This is why I am thrilled to be offering readers a fine art issue on alternative processes and “old school” black-and-white photography. There’s nothing like a hands-on project to make you feel like you’ve really accomplished something, especially when it’s something you can hold in your hands or mount on your wall and call art.

Joni Sternbach for example, takes her wet-plate process to the beach to make unique tintypes of surfers. And Leah MacDonald has discovered that a wax process applied to a photographic print is not only gorgeous, it’s also marketable. Then there’s famed photographer Lynn Goldsmith, known for her timeless rock icon portraits, who has created a personal project called The Looking Glass, where she injects vibrant color and her own self image into themed portraits.

For a touch of the historical, we delve into the exhibit Photography in Mexico at SFMOMA. We also cover the simple beauty of more straightforward images, like David Fokos’ minimalist compositions; Susan Berger’s black-and-white images documenting the common thread between U.S. cities; and Jean-Marc Caracci’s ongoing series titled Homo Urbanus Europeanus. Our “Photographer You Should Know” pick, Josef Hoflehner, has a new self-published book on Zanzibar; Shome Basu risks life and limb to tell the stories that matter; and Gary Fong presents us with six tips on creating rich black-and-white digital images. This month’s Photo Finish subject, Joe Chanin, reveals his “secret life” and images. Finally, what’s the use of great work without a show to display it in? Andrew Darlow explains how to make your prints gallery-ready, and secure a space in which to exhibit them. We hope this issue inspires you and gets your creative juices flowing.

Jacqueline Tobin,
Executive Editor

On The Cover
photographer: Joni Sternbach
camera: Deardorff 8x10 with adapted wet plate back
lens: 300mm Symmar
exposure: 1/2 second @ f/8.5
location: Byron Bay, NSW, AU
credit: © Joni Sternbach
comments: “I heard about Kazzie Mahina, the  ‘mermaid,’ when I first arrived in Byron Bay. I was slightly skeptical at first, yet she is exactly how I see my Surfland subjects: striding the invisible line between human and amphibian. She and her Merman are a vibrant, synchronistic couple as well as fabulous swimmers, surfers and yes—Mer people.”


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