Kris Sanford grew up in southeast Michigan and received a BFA in photography from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. She received her MFA in photography from Arizona State University, where she served as art editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review.
Kris has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including group exhibitions in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, London, Miami, and New York. 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. In 2015 Kris was invited to be one of six participating artists in the third round of Crusade for Art’s CSA program. Kris was selected as a finalist for the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2015 and her photographs have been featured in Fraction Magazine, Light Leaked, and Slate. She is represented by Catherine Couturier Gallery in Houston, Texas and Tilt Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Kris has taught photography classes at several institutions, including Washtenaw Community College, Arizona State University, and Glendale Community College. She is currently an assistant professor at Central Michigan University.
Her art explores intimate relationships, specifically queer desire, through the use of appropriated images and text.
Artist Statement – Through The Lens of Desire
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.