Houston Matters

Photographer Keliy Anderson-Staley’s Tintype Portraits

The photographer’s tintypes are on view at the Houston Center for Photography

We’re all used to filters on our smart phone cameras or on Instagram that attempt to make a photo look “retro.” The process is as easy as a couple of taps on a screen. But one Houston photographer is doing it the hard way – the way they did it in the 1800s.
For the past several years, Keliy Anderson-Staley has been using replicas of 150-year-old cameras and lenses to take tintype portraits around the country. Tintypes are black-and-white photos made by casting a positive image onto a thin sheet of light-sensitive metal, and the exposures often took so long that families in 1800s portraits often came out looking overly stoic, or with a face that was a ghostly blur.
As Keliy Anderson-Staley tells Michael Hagerty, she had the chance to work with another photographer who was using the process, and those qualities are part of why she became obsessed with tintypes.
An exhibit of Keliy Anderson-Staley’s tintypes called “On a Wet Bough: Contemporary Tintype Portraits,” is on display May 9 through July 6 at the Houston Center for Photography.
Image: Eric Kayne and News 88.7 reporter, Carrie Feibel with child


Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the Senior Producer for Houston Matters. He has a degree in journalism from Abilene Christian University and has served as news director for NPR and PBS stations around Texas and The West, including: KUNR-FM in Reno, Nev.; KNPB-TV in Reno, Nev.; and KWBU-TV/FM in Waco, Texas. He...

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