Stephen Sharnoff is primarily a botanical photographer who has specialized in close-up color work, although his portfolio includes a broad range of subjects, including the interpretation of human cultures.
He worked in partnership with his wife, Sylvia, until her death from illness in 1998.
Sylvia and Stephen did the photography for the book Lichens of North America, published by Yale University Press in fall 2001 and containing more than 900 color photos. Thomas Lovejoy of the Smithsonian Institution called the book "the twenty-first-century equivalent of Audubon's Birds of America."
The couple also did the color work for the 1997 book Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest and articles on lichens for National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Equinox magazines. Their photos of lichens and other subjects have appeared in numerous books, magazines, exhibits, and calendars.