Keliy Anderson-Staley @ Southeast Museum of Photography

[hyphen]-Americans: Contemporary Tintype Portraits

Exhibition: March 2 – May 2, 2012

This exhibition brings together more than three hundred of Keliy Anderson-Staley’s tintype portraits. These are portraits of contemporary Americans, but each one is made as a unique and un-reproducible tintype image using a technology and a technique from the middle of the nineteenth century. These subjects appear as if they have been transported from an earlier and more serious time when the making of an image was a slow, difficult and rare event; when the image was a landmark in the sitter’s life and one of very few images that might ever be made of that person in their life. In our modern society the ubiquity of images, camera phones and the digital “availability” of innumerable images has inured most of us to this potential “presence” that an image of others; or even of ourselves might possess. We have suspended our wonder. The long exposures necessary to make these collodion images create a very different kind of photographic event to the spontaneous “snapshot” aesthetic to which we have now become so accustomed.

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