By Susan Danly
It was perfect Saturday in Maine—cloudless blue sky, quiet breeze off the ocean, lilacs in bloom—and I was off to Prouts Neck toting a picnic basket and baseball cap to help photographer Keliy Anderson-Staley lug her heavy camera and portable darkroom down to the rocks in front of the Winslow Homer Studio. I watched as she set out the bottles of syrupy collodion and magical chemicals—ferrous sulfate, silver nitrate, and potassium cyanide—jugs of water, metal plates, developing trays, and the big box camera on a tripod that she would use to conjure up images of the rock-bound coast, breaking waves, and the piazza (Homer’s porch). It was a slow process that drew its success from a serendipitous confluence of sunshine, moderate temperatures, and gentle winds. But as soon as Keliy placed the cloudy photographic plates in the water bath, scenes of rocky ledges washed by waves miraculously began to appear.
Come see the results when her work is on view at the Museum this fall in the exhibition of Between Past and Present: The Winslow Homer Photographic Project.