Takin it to the Streets: Pirkle Jones & Robert von Sternberg « Monterey Museum of Art

Past Exhibitions

Takin it to the Streets: Pirkle Jones & Robert von Sternberg

2017.012.004Pirkle Jones

Pirkle Jones was a documentary photographer who captured some of California’s most important social movements and events during his photography career spanning six decades.

Born in 1914 in Shreveport, Louisiana, Pirkle first picked up a camera at age 17. When he finished his war service in the Army in 1946; he enrolled in the first photography class at the California School of Fine Arts (San Francisco Art Institute) taught by Ansel Adams. During his time at school, he formed friendships with other photographers such as Minor White, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, and Ruth Marion-Baruch who he eventually married. Pirkle went on to collaborate with Ansel, Dorothea, and Ruth several times during his career. In his photographs, Pirkle explored California’s landscape, politics, and its people with an eye of an artist and a witness.


Robert von Sternberg

Robert von Sternberg is a contemporary documentary photographer who has lived and worked in Los Angeles for the past 50 years.

Von Sternberg often travels with his wife Patricia off the beaten path, finding and photographing roadside attractions and other often overlooked material structures.  Often photographing scenes at night, many of his images feature artificial lighting that gives an almost surreal glow to the street scenes.

In his photographs, Robert von Sternberg explores man’s intrusion on nature without photographing humans at all. Instead, he captures man’s impact on the environment through what we leave behind. Signs, buildings, monuments, and other man made materials show our impact on the earth, even without our immediate presence.

Image: ©Robert von Sternberg, Animal Hospital, Santa Cruz, California, 2001, archival inkjet print. Collection Monterey Museum of Art