Christina Z. Anderson: The States Project: Montana
Christina Anderson and I are colleagues at Montana State University. Christina is recognized from China to Australia to North America and points in between as a guru of Alternative Processes. Chris generates laughs, the kind of laughs that make you want to pee your pants. That may sound irreverent, but one of the great things about Chris is she-says-it-like-she-sees-it. She doesn’t hold back. Her work echoes this same sensibility, matter of fact with tongue in cheek. Take that humor and combine it with a zest for research, you have someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but watch out because she’s looked at every angle to master the techniques. The work shown, Family of Origin, demonstrates that humor and level of excellence. Her project speaks to me on many levels as it explores the vernacular beauty and narrative of the family snapshot. Christina’s use of color in the project reminds me of ice cream, not overly vibrant but delicious and tangled in the haze of summer. The project is universal and her imagery reminds us snapshots are the trophies of the family.
Christina Z. Anderson’s work focuses on the family snapshot, gender identity, the altered landscape, and the contemporary vanitas. Her prints are handmade in a variety of 19th century photographic processes, primarily gum and casein bichromate, salted paper, cyanotype over platinum, and mordançage. Anderson’s work has shown internationally in 100+ shows and 40+ publications. Her passion is to share the knowledge and practice of the contemporary handmade print through her publications as well as workshops throughout the United States and overseas. Anderson has authored books which have sold in 40 countries—The Experimental Photography Workbook, Gum Printing and Other Amazing Contact Printing Processes, Gum Printing, A Step by Step Manual Highlighting Artists and Their Creative Practice, and Handcrafted: The Art and Practice of the Handmade Print (the latter co-authored with Wang, Jianming, King). Her upcoming book, Salted Paper Printing, A Step-by-Step Manual Highlighting Contemporary Artists, is slated for Fall 2017 publication. Anderson is Associate Professor of Photography at Montana State University, where she teaches experimental black & white and alternative process photography, as well as text & image design. She has her MFA in Photography from Clemson University, her BFA in painting and BA in photography from Montana State University, and her BA in French (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Minnesota.
An important frame of reference for my life has been my place as youngest in a family of eight—seven sisters and one brother. With a ball-busting, matriarchal mother and thirteen years of all-girl schools, growing up was girl-power all the way, balanced in part by an uber-masculine father. In 2000, after both parents had died, I became the one to make sense out of the family archive of 25,000 moldy, dusty, and faded photographs. I edited the archive to 2600 images, out of which I curated 100 to encapsulate growing up “large” at the cusp of massive social change in family and gender roles that occurred during the 1950s–1970s. Roles may be more fluid now, but if popular culture is any indication, a lot has remained the same. Through the many years working with these images, I’ve had time to contemplate and make peace with my family of origin. There is quirk and humor in this snapshot aesthetic approach, with occasional threads of sadness and disillusionment because, in this family as in most, there were darker dramas going on beneath the smiling Kodachrome faces. The prints are expressed in tricolor gum, tricolor casein, and salted paper, connecting this series to the very beginnings of photographic history.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
Lauren Grabelle: The States Project: MontanaJune 11th, 2017
Patrick Warner: The States Project: MontanaJune 10th, 2017
Matthew Hamon: The States Project: MontanaJune 9th, 2017
Kelsey Weyerbacher: The States Project: MontanaJune 8th, 2017
Christina Z. Anderson: The States Project: MontanaJune 7th, 2017