Joseph Sterling’s work The Age of Adolescence has to be seen as an artistic document of their epoch. However, his series is borne by something that could be termed “transcending time”. Besides the documentary perspective of style, fashion and trends, the works can be described as portraits of a timeless experience. Even today, across a gap of fifty years and more, Sterling’s images convey something that everyone who once became an adult knows. They awaken memories of how things were when our feelings were a roller-coaster ride. Some may be happy that they have got through it somehow, but perhaps others have a rather more nostalgic view of a time that will never return. But in Sterling’s series, as a whole, great enjoyment comes to the fore. The works exude energy, and even when it is about heartache and sadness, it is unlikely that anyone would want to have missed these moments, for they transport something deeply human. Joseph Sterling’s intention with this photographic diploma work was to capture and at the same time regain a feeling in images that defined an important phase in life for him. In a reflective manner, he created a kind of photographic memorial to that time. And even though it is obvious to us all that “eternal youth” not only does not exist but would probably be a night-mare anyway, it is nonetheless marvellos that these photographs hold some-thing that, in a certain sense, will remain forever young.
(excerpts from the book text by Christiane Kuhlmann).