From War to Celebrities: Photographer Christopher Anderson

Photo of By Harmonee Fowler
10 April 2017

Christopher Anderson, a Canadian-born and Texas-raised artist is well known for his clear and risky photographs. Labeled as a war photographer at one point in his career, the photographer started off as any other individual with a particular profession in mind. He began where he was; here is his story.

© Ivan Sohrakoff/ Flickr

Starting off as a hobby, Christopher Anderson never imagined that he would live the life of a future astounding photographer. He believed that his career would turn towards being a professor or majoring in anthropology, but evidently fate had a more thrilling trick up her sleeve and it seemed that Anderson was up for the ride. He never studied anything relating to photography or journalism, which appears to be a reason why his career path has taken this direction. By not having any knowledge of the technical sophistication of photography or the boundaries of journalism, his vision was fresh. His candid photographs were without borders; there was nothing to alter or limit his mind except himself.

In 1993, he obtained a job as a staff photographer for a small Colorado newspaper. But the life of working as a mere employee did not sit well with Anderson’s adventurous spirit. Within two years he quit working for the newspaper and in 1995 began pursuing his own freelance projects.

In 1996, Anderson began working as a photographer for the U.S. New & World Report, where he began to record the social issues of the world at that point in time. The report consisted of events ranging from Russia’s economic crisis to the heart wrenching conditions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. By 1999, the photographer’s name was about to become well known nationwide. While on board the man-made boat titled ‘Believe in God,’ 44 Haitian refugees were in hopes of sailing to the United States when the dreadful realization came that their boat was sinking. Later after the rescue, his photos received the Robert Capa Gold Medal.

Anderson further expanded his skills for capturing eye-opening events. He travelled to the Middle East, where he gained recognition for his war photography. During this time he received two more awards, the World Press Photo Award and the Magazine Photographer of the Year.

Anderson was not only a war photographer; he expanded his field and explored what it truly meant to be photojournalist, a title he doesn’t wish to hold today for the very reason that he simply enjoys taking photographs only. But he quickly backed out of the life as a war photographer. After his son came into the world, Anderson reconsidered his way of life. War photography lost its appeal to him and the thrill was in the mere existence of his son and growing family.

Anderson also holds onto truth. He doesn’t follow the steps of objectivity. Instead, he sees photography as a freedom – a path to discover the many languages of nonverbal communication. Instead of using words, the photographer sees the need to use mere photos and allowing the emotion to speak for itself. To use his talent to cut through what we see, to present to us the many views to look upon a situation.

Anderson’s main goal was to connect with the audience, not to let his images get drowned out in the common photographs roaming about the industry. Anderson is more interested in the way his images blend together, instead of how much he can receive. He aspires to let his photographs speak instead of adding his opinion through words. His aim is to cut deep, to show purpose and authenticity.

Currently, the photographer has completed his recent project titled Son, a project that is quite different from his war photographs. Anderson’s photographs took a sensitive, intimate turn during a reflection on the ways of life. This assignment helped him to decipher the conjoined meaning of life and death through the birth of his son and the sudden illness of his father.

Anderson has done it all when it comes to photography. He stood in the path of danger to gain a photograph that he merely had to have. He is a photographer of all genres, capturing the arts, to fashion shows to celebrity portraits. He is New York’s first photographer-in-residence. He is an artist who relies on the emotion a photograph secretes to him and his viewers instead of how many words he needs to say. He is Christopher Anderson.

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