Keliy Anderson-Staley’s digital exhibit “Off the Grid” was recently honored by fine-art photography publication Aperture among the 700 collections of works submitted for consideration for the magazine’s 2009 Portfolio Prize. Through this collection of images of Staley family members living in rural Maine—a tent with a stovepipe-like chimney in the woods (Hanson’s Tent at Common), a male subject hauling a 65-pound ice block out of a frozen body of water (Yule Harvesting Ice), a rustic dwelling (Staley’s Cabin in Winter)—the photographer examines “how communes, communities and collectives form identities from alternative or traditional philosophies.” “Off the Grid” is complemented by the photographer-artist’s other collection, “(-Americans),” which is comprised of portraits of individuals and couples using the technology that was prevalent during the 1850s and 1860s. “Old school” is definitely one way to describe this antique “wet plate collodion process” of capturing faces and poses. Staley has been using this 19th century technique for the past five years. “(-Americans)” is slated to run through the end of February. Combined, this provocative visual series prompts the viewer to probe and question concepts such as “place” and “identify.” Heady stuff indeed.
“Off the Grid” at the Digital Studio Gallery at the UCR California Museum of Photography, 3824 Main St., Riverside, (951) 784-3686; www.cmp.ucr.edu. Thru Feb. 27.