About the Photographer
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Joseph Sterling moved to Chicago in the late 1950s to attend the renowned Institute of Design (ID), where he studied photography with Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Frederick Sommer, earning both a BS and MS (1959, 1962). Sterling and his classmates Joseph Jachna, Charles Swedlund, Kenneth Josephson, and Ray Metzker, collectively became known as the “ID 5.” As a student Sterling created a substantial series of photographs dealing with the emerging youth culture of the late 1950s and early 1960s, later featured in solo exhibitions and published in the monograph The Age of Adolescence: Joseph Sterling Photographs 1959-1964 (Greybull Press, 2005).
Sterling found success in the fields of editorial and corporate photography, and in the mid-1960s he established the photography department at Columbia College Chicago. He also taught at the Institute of Design (now part of the Illinois Institute of Technology) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Solo exhibitions featuring The Age of Adolescence include Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco (2002), and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago (2002, 2006). His work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1990 Sterling moved to a town northwest of Chicago and retired from commercial work, focusing instead on independent photographic projects.