Keliy Anderson-Staley
[hyphen] American

Tintype Studio Sessions [more info]: 9am-7pm, June 13-16, 2019
Tintype Workshop [
more info]: 9am-12pm, June 15, 2019
Exhibition: July 5-26, 2019
Opening and Artist Talk: 5-10pm, July 5
Aurora PhotoCenter at Tube Factory (

Over the past decade Keliy Anderson-Staley has created a collective portrait of America and its great diversity. Working in tintype, a 19th-Century photographic process, she has crisscrossed the country photographing hundreds of people who are [hyphen] American. Her portraits often feature those groups who historically had neither the means nor the access to be photographed when tintypes were invented back in the 1800s. This exhibition showcases portraits made during her stop in Indianapolis in June 2019, as well as subjects photographed in other American cities from New York to Cleveland to San Francisco.

[Hear Keliy Anderson-Staley discuss her work and the exhibition with Oreo Jones of Listen Hear. Recorded July 5, 2019 at the Listen Hear Studios.]

[Read “‘You just see people as people’: See photos this artist took with 1800s technology,” by Emily Sabens, Indianapolis Star, July 10, 2019.]

To make a tintype, Anderson-Staley mixes and pours the emulsion for each plate on site shortly before a portrait is made. Tintypes need long exposure times, so the subject must remain completely still for up to 30 seconds to produce a sharp picture. This process creates portraits that are atmospheric and very detailed, emphasizing an often intense and mesmerizing gaze. Anderson-Staley’s beautifully textured tintype portraits use 19th-Century technology to depict the wholeness of what “American” means in the 21st Century. “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,” writes Anderson-Staley.

Keliy Anderson-Staley studied photography in New York City and currently lives and teaches photography at the University of Houston in Texas. Anderson-Staley’s images are in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art (Maine), and Museum of Fine Arts-Houston. She was the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, a Puffin Grant, a fellowship from the Howard Foundation, the Carol Crow Fellowship from the Houston Center for Photography and the Clarence John Laughlin Award from the New Orleans Photo Alliance. Her work was published in a solo issue of Light Work’s Contact Sheet and has been shown at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, Portland Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum, Bronx Museum of Art, Southeast Museum of Photography and the California Museum of Photography, as well as at a number of galleries around the country. In 2016 she completed a major public commission for the city of Cleveland, producing fifty large-scale portraits for installation in the airport tunnel of the rapid transit line.

This exhibition has been made possible in part by the Efroymson Family Fund