First Pictures.
Photographs by Joel Sternfeld. Essay by Jessica May.
Steidl, 2011. 320 pp., 140 color illustrations, 11½x9½".

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2011 by:


Publisher's Description
Now in its second edition

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 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.

Read Antone Dolezal's photo-eye Blog post on First Pictures here.


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