Magazine article The New Yorker

Americans

Magazine article The New Yorker

Americans

Article excerpt

The photographer Joel Sternfeld has always been fascinated by the ways we attempt to make our surroundings conform to our particular visions. In his new body of work, "Stranger Passing"--which opens next week at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and will be published as a book by Bulfinch in the fall--we are introduced to a complex assortment of conformists and visionaries: two teen-agers roller-blading through the cornfields of Minnesota; a Somali woman in her native dress, pumping gas in Kansas City, Kansas; two men (right) on vacation in Big Fork, Montana.

In an age of relentless exposure, Sternfeld's portraits are marked by a refreshing formality and restraint. Many of the subjects are displaying some emblem of their ordinary life--a surfboard, a Palm pilot, grocery bags overflowing with produce--and no one is caught off-guard. …

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