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2021 SPE Annual Conference: CANCELLED Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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[Hyphen] Americans

What is our place in history and what is the role that photographic technologies and the history of photography play in defining identity?

These are two questions that Keliy Anderson-Staley approaches in her series [Hyphen] Americans. Anderson-Staley is well-known for her portrait work with the 19th century wet-plate collodion process. She has worked with this process, commonly called tintype, for more than 11 years.

Composed of more than 130 unique wet-plate collodion tintype portraits, this body of work depicts a broad cross-section of American faces that resist immediate categorization. The sitters, identified only by a first name–defiantly assert his or her self-hood, staring back at the viewer with a bold penetrating intensity.

The tintype process is rather long and rigorous, resulting in a milky, almost haunting looking surface that elicits timelessness despite its contemporary context. Anderson-Staley’s sitters become detached from time, effectively redefining assumptions we may hold due to perceived identity politics.

Join us for the opening reception on Friday, May 13, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Keliy Anderson-Staley will give a short gallery talk and copies of her new book, On a Wet Bough, published by Waltz Books, will be available.


Tintype Portrait Session and Demonstration: May 14, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm *

Keliy Anderson-Staley will set up a tintype photobooth at SPE’s National Office. The greater Cleveland community is invited to observe the tintype process and sit for a portrait! Using large wooden cameras, antique lenses, and hand-mixed chemistry, the artist will produce photographic portraits on metal. Stop by for a chance to see how tintype photographs are made and become an instant antique! Click here for more information.

*A limited number of portraits will be made an hour. Sign-up early to become a sitter in one of Keliy's portraits, May 14 only! (Email to reserve your spot.) Couples and families are encouraged to participate. Sitters will receive a digital copy of their portrait.

Wet-plate Collodion Workshop: May 15, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Those who seek a more in-depth understanding of the wet-plate collodion tintype process should join us for a rare opportunity to work directly with world-renowned tintype artist Keliy Anderson-Staley. Workshop registrants will learn first-hand how tintypes are made and will leave with their very own tintype. From the preparation of the chemistry, through the exposing and developing, to the final varnishing of the plate, all steps will be covered. All materials and equipment will be provided. $225 / members, $350 / not yet members

Click here to reserve your spot for Keliy's wet-plate collodion workshop!

[Hyphen] Americans is made possible, in part, through the generous support of The Joy Family Legacy Foundation, Bostick & Sullivan, and the Future Focus Campaign. | 505-474-0890


About the Artist:

Keliy Anderson-Staley is a Texas-based artist. She is nationally known for her portrait work in the 19th century wet-plate collodion tintype process, of which she has worked with for over eleven years. She currently lives in Houston, TX. She holds a BA from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and an MFA from Hunter College in New York. Major exhibitions include shows at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Southeast Museum of Photography, and the Houston Center for Photography. Anderson Staley was a 2008 New York Foundation for the Arts photography Fellow. Anderson-Staley is an assistant professor at the University of Houston and is represented by Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago. She recently published a book of her tintype portraits under the title, On a Wet Bough, with Waltz Books.

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