First Pictures by Joel Sternfeld
Eggleston, eat your heart out. Sternfeld is the new, the original American landscape. He is the man of colour who, armed with a 35mm and a Kodachrome slide film, gave each era its own palette. At Nags Head in the 70s, it was the blonde of sun-bleached hair and the deep brown of skin that was – once upon a time – white. The bright red of a Coke cup left on the dash, sleeping in cars in the hot sun. The almost-green of a breaking wave. The creased blue of denim cut-offs and midriff halter tops. First Pictures is all bell-bottoms, tan lines and a chemist-bought calendar, the swell marked carefully by his surfer roommate. He achieves whole films in a single frame: bringing us to, and archiving forever, one long oneiric summer.