Sternbach, who is also the director of the college’s photography department, will travel to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (also known as ANWR) in Alaska on a photography expedition. He will be accompanied by two of his students.
Although Sternbach has always enjoyed photography, as it was a hobby of both his grandfather and great-grandfather, he became genuinely interested in it at the age of eleven. From there his love of photography grew as he worked as a photographer for his high school yearbook and high school newspaper.
Sternbach first became interested in Alaska as a photography student. "I was a 21-year-old photography student when I first learned about ANWR and the heated debate over whether it should be opened to oil exploration or remain untouched," he said. "I was struck by the region and the controversy swirling around it, and since that time I have longed to go there."
He departs on July 13 for eight weeks, where he will capture images of all of Alaska’s inhabitants from the rangers who lead expeditions into the wilderness to herds of caribou to the wild landscapes. For him, there is not a "more crucial place for an artist’s eye."
One of Sternbach’s goals for this expedition to ANWR is to bring attention to the peoples who live there. He will photograph the Gwich’in and Inupiat people. These two tribes represent some of the last natives in America who have occupied the land for nearly 10,000 years.
“These indigenous peoples have a unique relationship with their land and that hopefully we can learn from them about what we are doing to our planet,” he said.
His overarching goal: awareness.
"Through my photographs I hope to raise the level of awareness of this remote region and its native population and inspire people to become involved and active in the global work to save not only this Alaskan region but the world’s ecosystem as well,” he said.