Image Copyright Restricted

After a Flash Flood, Rancho Mirage, California, July 1979

1979, printed 1981
Joel Sternfeld (American, born in 1944)


Image: 40.64 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, chromogenic print (Ektacolor)

Not On View


Americas, Contemporary Art, Photography



During the 1970s, Joel Sternfeld’s work reflected a trend towards a newly dispassionate, less idealized approach to nature and culture. His photographs have a seductive beauty, even though they often focus on those places where the natural and man-made worlds come together in uncomfortable ways. Working with a large-format camera and luminous color to create images that are frequently ironic or even humorous, his compositions appear simple but in fact are surprisingly complex and often unsettling. In this photograph of a suburban California neighborhood in the aftermath of a flash flood, the lovely monochrome tones trick us into not immediately seeing the car that has toppled into the gaping sinkhole or realizing that the buildings above could be on the verge of falling, too.


Verso on black ink: "62/100", title, date, negative date, print date (September 1981), signature


Artist; purchased November 1982.

Credit Line

Polaroid Foundation Purchase Fund


Copyright © Joel Sternfeld, Reproduction
Courtesy Luhring Augustine Gallery