Present intimations of a disordered future: Joel Sternfeld's photographs of modernity's prospects.
Joel Sternfeld's History in Pictures offers a space in which human history and what it means to be human in the world now may be considered. Using unaltered photographs and texts that look behind and around the images, Sternfeld (born 1944) speculates on representative moments and sites to create a portal to what will be on the other side if our course goes unaltered.
Sternfeld's pictures often puzzle with notions of Westernization, globalization and identity, such as a young man in rural Peru selling a hot dog on a croissant with evident discomfiture, a girl role-playing as a French maid in a club in Japan, a wax figure of Kim Kardashian at Madame Tussauds and Rocko Gieselman, the first University of Vermont student to register an undefined gender. Modernism, contradiction, inequality, hate, technology, high science and emergent sexual identities have reshaped human existence forever.
History in Pictures allows a view back onto ourselves at a time when things are changing so quickly.