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Joseph Sterling was born in 1936, and a native of El Paso, Texas found his way to Chicago and completed his graduate degree in 1962 at the renown Institute of Design, Chicago after studying with some of the most important figures in mid- twentieth century photography, including Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind and Frederick Sommer.
For the next three decades , from 1960 to 1990 Joseph Sterling enjoyed a national reputation as a photographer in both the editorial / magazine and the corporate / industrial worlds. His work was highly regarded for its unique and powerful imagery. He won numerous awards including the New York Art Directors’ Club Certificate of Merit and the Graphis Annual Award (Switzerland). During these years he traveled on assignment throughout North and Central America, Europe and the Middle East. In these excursions Sterling continually immersed himself in the music and art of the various cultures for inspiration in his own ongoing fine art photography projects. Time was often set aside, at these locations, to pursue personal photographic projects.
Throughout this time Sterling also taught at major Chicago institutions including the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at Columbia College of Chicago, where, in the mid 1960s he established the popular Photography Department. Sterling’s photographs have been exhibited and collected by both private individuals and institutions.
In 1990 Sterling ceased accepting commercial assignments in favor a full time commitment to his own projects. He moved from Chicago and established a large studio in Mundelein, Illinois, with his wife Shirley. She passed away in 1994. He continues to photograph, exhibit, write and lecture widely on photography. In 2000, he married Deborah Rarich.
Began photographing at age eleven.
Studied photography for three years with Shirlee Shaver at Austin High School.
Texas Western College, 1954-1956.
Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Science in Photography 1959, Master of Science in Photography 1962
Student of Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind and Frederick Sommer.
2007 Couples: The Art of Connection. Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
2007 Out of Season: Photographs of the Chicago Summer. City Gallery of Photography at the Water Tower, Chicago, IL
2006 The Age of Adolescence. (Solo) Prairie State College Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL
2006 From Fair to Fine: 20th Century Photography Books That Matter. Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
2006 The Age of Adolescence And Other Images. (Solo) Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
2006 The Age of Adolescence. (Solo) Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2005 The Age of Adolescence. (Solo) Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
2003 The Photographic Edge. Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
2002 The Age of Adolescence. (Solo) Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002 Taken by Design: Photographs from the Institute of Design, 1937-1971. Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art
2002 Joseph Sterling: The Age of Adolescence. (Solo) Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
2001 Let's Have Lunch. Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
2001 City 2000. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
1996 Together Again: Six Former Students of Harry Callahan. Gallery 312, Chicago, IL
1996 When Harry Met Aaron: Chicago Photography, 1946-1971. Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
1996 Chicago Photography, 1935-1965. James Danzinger Gallery, New York, NY
1996 Kobe Aid Fund: World Photography Art Exhibition. Kobe, Japan
1996 Portland Photography Festival. Portland, OR
1993 The Age of Adolescence. Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR
1992 The Young Rebel in American Photography, 1950-1970. Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1991 Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire/American Photographs, 1948-1963. Ehlers-Caudill Gallery, Chicago, IL
1984 Cityscapes, The Hallmark Collection Traveling Exhibition, Kansas City, MO
1983 Chicago: The Architectural City. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1980 The New Vision: Forty Years of Photography at The Institute of Design. Light Gallery, New York, NY
1979 Discovering America, 1959-1970. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1977 The Photographer and the City. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
1975 For You Aaron. The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1970s Illinois Arts Council Traveling Exhibition
1967 Photography in the Twentieth Century. National Gallery of Canada
1967 Expo '67 Photography Exhibition. Montreal, Canada
1966 The Photographers Eye. Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1967 One Person Show. Gallery 500D
1964 One Person Show. The Institute of Design, Chicago, IL
1964 Directions '64: Photography in Illinois
1964 New York Worlds Fair Photography Exhibition, New York, NY
1964 Photography '63: An International Exhibition. The New York State Exposition and Eastman House
1961 Four Young Photographers. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Cincinnati Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH
International Museum of Photography, The George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
La Salle Bank Collection, Chicago, IL
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO
Center of Photography, Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics
Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ