VIEW from the Hill

St. Patrick’s Day Parade, New York City, by Doug DuBois, 2001.
Getting Ready for the Governor by Chris Anderson G’02

Have Camera Will Travel

Chris Anderson G’02 likes to be on the move. At one time he traveled the country racing snowboards on the national amateur circuit. These days shooting pictures keeps him in motion—it’s been that way ever since he took a photography class as an undergraduate at Humboldt State University in his native northern California. “It was a sea change in perception of what my life would be,” Anderson says. “That summer I went to Israel and got caught in the worst flash floods in years. I took pictures and thought, ‘This is really cool. I could do this for a living.’”

Since then, he’s worked at newspapers in Vermont and New Hampshire; visited Poland, where he began a long-term project documenting a group of Jewish expatriates returning to their homeland and then journeying to Israel; and has continued his travels in Israel and other parts of the Middle East. “I have a need to move,” he says. “I appreciate having a home base, but I’m not able to stay for long.”

This past year, as a graduate student in the Newhouse photography program, Anderson called Syracuse home. “It was the most amazing learning experience I’ve ever had because it was so intense,” he says. “I ate, slept, and lived photography. It made me crazy, but I can’t imagine a better way to learn.”

As part of his Newhouse experience, he participated in a weekend shoot documenting the lives of people in the suburban Syracuse community of Fayetteville-Manlius; took photos in Lockerbie, Scotland, for a photojournalism project that Newhouse faculty and students are working on; and was involved with classmates in a semester-long undertaking photographing a Syracuse neighborhood.

Anderson was also one of several students who displayed work at Newhouse’s annual photography exhibition at the Menschel Media Center (related story). The show, organized by Jamie Rose G’02, featured an eclectic mix of pictures. “The students put together a wonderful show,” says photojournalism professor Mark Dolan. “We have people who are potentially going in a lot of different directions. Exposure to the different disciplines at Newhouse makes them stronger photographers, better storytellers.”

Among Anderson’s photos were a portrait of two vegan activists; a picture of a baby biting her mother; a “mood” shot of the Newhouse hallway leading to the photo lab; and two newspaper photographs from his time in New England. One of those pictures (above), Getting Ready for the Governor, shows a Cub Scout getting a haircut in preparation for receiving an award from Vermont Governor Howard Dean. “That’s my tribute to Norman Rockwell,” Anderson says. “It was a momentous time in that Cub Scout’s life, and it’s really special for me when I get to share in moments like that.”

Anderson gravitates toward this kind of shot. He likes to establish trusting relationships with people and capture important occasions in their lives. “You have to listen and give as much as you’re taking, and be comfortable knowing that you’re giving people the opportunity to show the world their lives,” he says. “You can’t take that lightly.”  

—Jay Cox

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