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Anderson takes photos and jewelry to next level

Published: 
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Chris Anderson uses one of his presses to craft a copper piece at his Petit Valley studio and factory. INSET: Another Chris Anderson designed pendant made of copper and brass. PHOTOS: ABRAHAM DIAZ

For some, the age of digital photography has meant a loss of business. Yet, for photographer and jeweler Chris Anderson, the digital photography age has opened many doors. In fact, Anderson’s photos are more and more becoming his main economic focus. 

 

Anderson, 53, started studying photography in the early 1980s while he was in Canada at Sheridan College.

 

Although Anderson went to Sheridan to study design, he took photography as an elective.

 

He was also inspired by his father, who was a “photo enthusiast.” Working with film posed a problem for Anderson, however.

 

“It was difficult because the time between developing and when you actually took the photo was too long and I couldn’t properly analyse my work,” he said during an interview at his Petit Valley home studio and factory. 

 

The advent of digital cameras then allowed Anderson to work at a pace more to his liking. In 2005, he acquired a point and shoot Canon DSLR camera.

 

An avid motorbike rider as well, Anderson began taking trips throughout Trinidad shooting landscapes he found interesting 

 

A few years later, he began to work professionally and has now had work featured in magazines and sold in art galleries.

 

“Most photos taken these days are on a hard drive somewhere and no one gets to see them. That doesn’t make sense,” he said. Anderson also experiments with printing photos on canvas and other innovative presentations. 

 

Anderson added that smartphone cameras are unlikely to completely replace quality photography.

 

“I find that taking photos with phones is more of a social phenomenon but there’s not much artistic credibility to them. Things like Instagram are nice because it’s great that people can share and get feedback but it’s like a hobby at that level,” he said. 

 

“I tend to want to create a picture using the camera mostly for more of a natural effect and most people who are seriously into buying photos would want a more ‘traditional’ looking photo.”

 

In addition to selling photos, Anderson also conducts photo tours of T&T for amateur to professional photographers. 

 

Yet, long before Anderson veered into professional photography he had a thriving jewelry business. Chris Anderson Jewelry was founded in 1986.

 

Prior to founding his business, Anderson had worked with various local jewelers mostly doing repairs and setting wedding bands.

 

He found the work boring, however, and began experimenting with copper and brass designs which he eventually started selling wholesale. Anderson’s products can be found in gift shops and galleries throughout T&T.

 

Together with his wife, Nicole, and six employees, Anderson runs his business from his home in Petit Valley. Anderson focuses on design and occasionally works on commissioned pieces.

 

In May, Anderson was commissioned by Government to create a jewelry set for the Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan. 

 

The jewelry business has not always been easy for Anderson, however. In recent times, sales have decreased, Anderson said, sales have decreased due to the rise of the cruise-ship industry and other factors such as the global recession. 

 

“I find that a lot of arts and craft people are complaining about a lack of sales and it might take a year or two for that to end. For instance, I don’t sell to hotel shops as much as I used to because people are doing cruises more.” 

 

Again, technology has been an asset to Anderson who was able to counteract some of that loss through the creation of a Web site and online sales. 

 

Still, Anderson foresees downsizing his jewelry business in the future. And thanks to his digital photography work, he has something to fall back on.

 

“Photography is taking up more and more time and I’m building up a library and selling to a wide variety of clients.

 

“The galleries are more willing to take a risk on photos and represent me and it’s an honour and a joy to have someone buy my work and hang it on their wall.” 

 

 

To find out more about Chris Anderson and his work, you can visit his Web sites: www.chrisandersonjewelry.com and www.caribbeanphotoart.com 

 

 

 

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