In Prospects, order achieves temporary success in the suburbs but the cost is boredom and underlying pathology. We'll take a look right away. Sternfeld worked in colour from the beginning of his career, using Kodachrome slide film for its sharpness of definition and muted tones.
People pose happily or gauchely, the series mimicking the awkwardness of posed family portraits but, for once, the end result does not quite transcend the sum of the parts.
In one unforgettable image a fireman shops for a pumpkin at a roadside farm market as a house blazes in the background. Sold-out photobooks are simply unavailable for most people; and you can now blame high prices for out-of-print photobooks either on the supply publishers or demand side of the market collectors.
In the era of iPhones and prolific social media uploads, he says, a photographic artist can no longer simply be aesthetic. This space allows a feeling of wrongness to come through, one that seems to permeate these photographs, not by direct instigation but through an implicit voyeurism.
These may be Sternfeld's first pictures, but his greatness — and his concentrated thoughtfulness — is apparent throughout. One issue that has been mostly ignored as far as I can tell is the format of a photobook reissue.
The hardened, wary faces of a family crammed into a beat-up car in a tent city outside Houston, Texas are gripping — and timeless.
This development would be even more reason to go back to one of the original practitioners and to re-evaluate the work, re-look or simply look at the work to see what it offered, what it did, and, crucially, what it still has to offer.