Can a still photograph embody living perception? Can it contain its abundance? Can photography, not a time-based medium, render ongoing flow? Can it do justice to an overspilling world? To these questions, Janet Sternburg (b. Boston, 1943; lives and works in Los Angeles and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico), a writer and philosopher as well as a photographer, says yes. Her work proves that photography can render the perceptual movement that is our experience. Working without any optical or digital manipulation and with the simplest of means – disposable and early iPhone cameras – she brings together the manifest aspects of the world on a single plane, portraying a vision of interpenetrating and layered time and space. Often shooting through windows, she uses reflection not to mirror but rather to blur conventional separations between inside and outside, solid and fluid, subject and object. These are images of consciousness – its fluidity and porosity as opposed to the delimitations that structure reasoned thought – fused with everyday life.
“Overspilling World” is Janet Sternburg’s first monograph. With texts by Sternburg, art historian Pepe Karmel, photographer Catherine Opie, curator Alexandra von Stosch, and filmmaker-photographer Wim Wenders.
Janet Sternburg’s photography has been exhibited internationally in solo shows (Korea, Mexico, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles). Her work has appeared in extensive portfolios in Aperture, Art Journal, and The Behavior of Light, the catalogue accompanying the German tour of her work; it is housed in private collections and in the permanent collection of The USC Fisher Museum of Art. She is also the author of a number of acclaimed books, among them the iconic THE WRITER ON HER WORK and, most recently, WHITE MATTER: A Memoir of Family and Medicine.