On a Wet Bough

Keliy Anderson-Staley

Spring 2014
Images by Keliy Anderson-Staley
Essays by Geoffrey Batchen and Matthew Williams

11 x 14 inches
144 pages
85 plates

About On a Wet Bough

This stunning monograph of tintype portraits is culled from an archive of hundreds taken over the last decade by Keliy Anderson-Staley. The long exposure time needed to make a tintype requires that the sitter remain as still as possible to produce a sharp image. As a result, the subjects of these tintypes often display an intense and guileless expression that immediately connects their faces to those of 19th-Century portraits. Stripped of the modern default behavior of smiling in front of a camera, these images, with all the exquisite detail afforded by the wet plate process, suggest an important rethinking of what it means to photograph and be photographed.

Anderson-Staley mixes and pours the emulsion for each plate on site shortly before a portrait is made. The process of hand-coating each piece leaves behind traces of the maker that are as beautifully and deeply embedded in the final image as the perceived identity of the subject.

About Keliy Anderson-Staley

Keliy Anderson-Staley has exhibited her work for over a decade in solo and group exhibitions at institutions including the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Russia; the California Museum of Photography; and the Southeast Museum of Photography. Her work is in the collections of Portland Museum of Art, Maine; the Library of Congress; and Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa. She is represented by Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.

About Geoffrey Batchen

Geoffrey Batchen is a renowned art historian, teacher, curator, and author of classic texts including Burning with Desire: The Conception of PhotographyEach Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History; and Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance.

About Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams has a PhD in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and teaches British literature.