Sarina Finkelstein: The New Forty-Niners

Sarina Finkelstein: The New Forty-Niners

In her series, The New Forty-Niners, artist Sarina Finkelstein draws focus on the culture of contemporary gold mining in the state of California nearly 170 years after the original Gold Rush of 1849. Finkelstein’s project takes place at numerous claims throughout the state, from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains—an area favored by prospectors since the mid-1800s—to the tributaries of the Klamath river in the north.

Over the course of five years, Finkelstein documented the lives and labor of individuals who dig, sluice, and pan for a living. California’s strict environmental regulations favor small-scale and individual mining efforts over the large commercial operations commonly found in states like Nevada and Alaska. Often spending days or weeks at each claim, Finkelstein takes time to learn the routines and stories of the individuals she photographs. This is reflected in her images, which offer an insider’s perspective on the efforts and environments of those who have turned to mining gold for different reasons—some in search of adventure or fortune, some out of desperation, and others who seek self-reliance and a tangible connection to the land. Brought together, the images offer a sincere look at modern-day miners who, like many before them, are drawn into the hills and river valleys of the California landscape in search of gold.

Sarina Finkelstein is a Brooklyn-based artist and photographer. She earned an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and a BFA in photography from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.  Her work has been published in Smithsonian Magazine, The Telegraph, SEVEN, Amica Italy, Fluter, and featured online by The New York Times, TIME, NPR, Discover, Photo District News, Feature Shoot, and LensCulture, among others. Finkelstein’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco; Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR; the Midwest Center of Photography in Wichita, KS; Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York; and the Dali International Photography Exhibition in Yunnan, China. Her first monograph, The New Forty-Niners, was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2014.

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Sarina Finkelstein: The New Forty-Niners
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018 to Wednesday, November 7, 2018