Keliy Anderson-Staley was raised “off the grid” in Maine, received a BA from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and an MFA from Hunter College in New York and currently lives and teaches in Arkansas. She has been making wet plate collodion tintypes for eight years.
Her new project, [Hyphen] Americans, refers to the hyphenated character of American identities (Irish-American, African-American, etc.), while only emphasizing the shared American identity. These portraits compose a broadly inclusive portrait of America. "With each portrait I hope to capture a powerful likeness, which I then title only with a first name. Each portrait is revealing but anonymous. Each is also uniquely representative of an individual but not of a particular group. Therefore, although the heritage of each individual might be inferred from assumptions we make about features and costumes, the viewer is encouraged to suspend the kind of thinking that would traditionally assist in decoding these images in the context of American identity politics."
Keliy has been awarded a Howard Foundation Fellowship , Light Work residency and fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, Puffin Grant, and a Bronx Museum AIM residency. Solo exhibitions of her tintype portraits have been installed at the Light Work Gallery in Syracuse, NY, the Palitz Gallery in NYC, the Southeast Museum of Photography, the California Museum of Photography, John Cleary Gallery in Houston and a number of university galleries around the country. Keliy has exhibited widely arcoss the US.
Keliy will have a "tintype portrait booth" set up at both the Chicago expo through the Catherine Edelman Gallery September 20-23rd and in New Haven in October. (Sittings are free and open to the public) She will also have work at the DC Fine Art Photography Fair in Washington DC, from October 5-7th at the Rebekah Jacob Gallery.
[Hyphen] Americans is a series of tintype portraits made with chemistry mixed according to nineteenth-century recipes, period brass lenses and wooden view cameras. Composed of thousands of portraits, the project is a broadly diverse collection of American faces. Each individual in the project--identified only by a first name--defiantly asserts his or her selfhood, resisting any imposed or external categorizing system we might bring to these images.
At once contemporary and timeless, these portraits raise questions about our place as individuals in history, and the role that photographic technologies and the history of photography have played in defining identity.