Though American photographer Christopher Anderson’s images cover a breathtakingly wide range of subjects, they are linked in their unique ability to position the viewer as part of the scene — allowing them to fully feel and “experience” how Anderson felt at the time of photographing.
Initially shooting in color, Anderson began working for prolific American magazines such as ‘U.S. News & World Report’, covering global conflicts and social unrest across the world. From documenting Russia’s economic crisis to photographing Afghan refugees in Pakistani refugee camps and the election of Bolivia’s first Indian indigenous president Evo Morales, Anderson was at the forefront of political photojournalism.
He shot to fame after capturing a group of 44 Haitian immigrants sinking to their near-death whilst aboard ‘Believe in God’, a handmade wooden boat. This project would earn him at the Robert Capa Gold Medal and eventually a place on Magnum’s prestigious board. The series of images, taken in what Anderson calls ‘experiential documentary’ style are charged with emotion — a heady mix of fear, strength, determination and mistrust. The viewer can feel this intense concoction of emotions through the pictures, enabling them to feel as though they too were on the sinking boat.
From the scrum of the press pit to the award-winning series on the ‘Believe in God’ boat, Anderson went on to black and white photography, capturing formal portraits of American politicians including Barack Obama. Describing his approach to Magnum Photos, he explained: “they [WIRED magazine] wanted a cover portrait that felt more intimate than how we have seen him as a president…My work tends to be about a certain intimacy and emotion.”
All images © Christopher Anderson