I was shown Sternfeld’s work in a lecture recently and it’s made me consider his type of work. My personal work all seems very picturesque and they’re images that are nice to look at but they don’t have any actual meaning beyond what the photograph conveys.

Sternfeld’s book, ‘Haunting grounds’ exhibits photographs of places throughout America where various crimes have occurred. The photographs themselves are the exact opposite of the work that I am creating in that they’re strong images based on the meaning rather than the aesthetic. As A.M. Homes in the link below says, the more you look at the images, the more complicated and meaningful they become.

This type of photography seems vastly more interesting than the work I’m currently making. I want to progress my work using the inspiration of Joel Sternfeld. The book’s morbid nature evokes misery from its reader but for some reason the human psyche finds interest though it. For me, the book represents that although terrible things happen, nature and society still move forward. The tree where Jennifer Levin’s body was found strangled in 1986 still remains beautiful and life continues around it.

The idea behind ‘Haunting Grounds’ has grabbed my attention and changed everything I want my photographs to be… I didn’t know documentary photography could be so interesting before Sternfeld.