I’m Lee Sternthal.
I’m a writer, director, photographer, and teacher currently living on the east coast of the United States with my wife, daughter and big puppa, Nico.
I’m from outside Philadelphia, PA, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and the Southwest US. My work and my life are one: home, family, friends, light, shadow, landscape – but out in the world I do often feel like an alien sent on a mission to collect visual research I don’t quite understand the purpose of. But it’s all pretty normal, I’ve just always carried a camera of some kind around. I’ve also always had a wanderlust and I enjoy driving, especially across the US with Nico. I photograph whatever I respond to, landscape, light and shadow, people doing things or just sitting around, with whatever means available. I do this every single day no matter where I am, like a kid scribbling in his journal.
At home it’s love, comedy or tragedy or sometimes all at the same time. Trying to process it in my own way, I suppose, maybe trying to stop time or speed it up. Out in the world, like I said, I feel like an alien looking at the world for the first time, seeing all the beauty, creation and destruction, not even that grandiose, it’s all in the every day. Sometimes I do find myself thinking, “Somebody should record this because it will all be changed and gone soon.” And then, like the light of day, it is, or I am.
No matter where we go technologically I love still photography and I always will. There’s something about the still, alone, complete, that single moment taken out of time, there’s really nothing quite like it when it hits you, your eye, your brain, your nervous system; you’re never the same after in the same way. Another human being just like you witnessed that, recorded it in 1/100th (or whatever) of a second, and made you feel a whole different world from your own that enters through the eye, but affects your entire biological/spiritual system. It’s really incredible when it happens, that it can happen and does still happen. It’s so primal that no matter where we go, how we evolve, how “sophisticated” we become it will always be in us to need pictures to understand the world and each other.
I’ve been doing this for years and I’m just now starting to really think in sequences of photos, how they can work together, the effect. Every once in a while I’ll put a sequence together of two or three photos and something new will arise. A new connection, a new feeling, something else I wasn’t expecting… That’s very rare and special when I see it in others’ work or my own. I’m constantly looking and learning.
But deep down I don’t want to know exactly why I do this. The mystery has just as much right to live and grow as the reason. Photography is what I’ve always done since I was a boy, and what I will always do until I can’t. Let it keep changing and growing in its own way, wherever it may lead, whether it’s out in the world, or back home again. I want to see and feel as much as I can while I can.
I am a kid scribbling in his journal.