Keliy Anderson-Staley was raised off the grid in Maine, studied photography in New York City and currently lives and teaches photography at the University of Houston in Texas. She earned a BA from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and an MFA in photography from Hunter College in New York.

Anderson-Staley’s tintype portrait work was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a Puffin Grant.

Her series of tintype portraits was published in 2014 under the title On A Wet Bough by Waltz Books.


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.

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.

Publisher’s Info

Publisher: Waltz Books

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