Kris Sanford

Originally from the suburbs of Detroit, Kris Sanford is currently faculty at Central Michigan University. She received her MFA in photography from Arizona State University in 2005, where she served as art editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Sanford has taught photography classes at Arizona State University, Glendale Community College, and Phoenix College.

Sanford has exhibited her work nationally, including group exhibitions in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami, and New York. She was an active member of the Phoenix art community for several years and had numerous solo exhibitions in the area. In 2010 she was awarded a Contemporary Forum Artist Grant from the Phoenix Art Museum and her work was selected by the Phoenix Public Art Program for the 2011 installment of the 7th Avenue Streetscape Panels. She was recently selected as a finalist for the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2015.

Through the Lens of Desire: new work by Kris Sanford in a continuation of the “Cropped” series

“Relationships, real or imagined, are at the center of this work. Growing up queer, I searched for a history that spoke to me—included me. In my family history, there were no couples that mirrored my own intimate relationships. That didn’t keep me from imagining such couples.

Through the Lens of Desire creates implied narratives using snapshots from the 1920s- 1950s. Vernacular photographs from that era were created as private keepsakes and the unselfconscious intimacy they depict feels authentic and relatable. As modern viewers, we witness personal moments that were never intended to be public. By purposefully selecting images that picture men together and women together I am creating an imaginary queer past. I am drawn to the subtle points of contact and the spaces between the figures pictured. Each gesture or distracted glance holds a story, and it is these stories that reflect my own desire and experiences.

This project brings a contemporary rereading to old photographs to address sexuality and relationships in a subtle way. My images are works of fiction, where I project my own dreams onto moments from the past.” -Kris Sanford