“The more you look at Anthony’s sinister scenes, the more puzzled you become. What are these women and children doing? Or more to the point, what have they done?”
“Chris Anthony’s series of photographs titled “Victims and Avengers” caught my eye with his minimalist approach, unnerving scenarios and moody sense of color. He has created a foreboding arena, filled with dark narratives and a ghostly cast of characters. His composition is well thought out, each figure strategically placed for impact. The wide angle provides a sense of separation between the viewer and the subjects, reminiscent of the theater. His use of muted colors, coupled with crimson accents and spotty saturation enhances the ghastly mood of his pieces. The figures seem weightless and ethereal. While rich textured backgrounds set the stage for his sinister narratives to play out in this intriguing and melancholic world, these beautiful, thought-provoking photographs show him to be an extraordinary artist with a flair for macabre imagery. Take, for example, his image of a pale, Victorian brunette who glares at the viewer from within a reddish-brown room. The interior contains just a few objects: a doorway, an elaborately framed portrait, and the legs of a man, presumably dead. A hint of blood always appears in Anthony’s images, and here, the man’s shoes are stained red. There is one more object that Anthony has placed into this scene: a knife that the brunette clutches behind her back. Her confident stare makes you think she’s ready to come at you. But you remember that the space she inhabits is a figment of Anthony’s imagination. So you’re safe, at least for now.”
The scenes depict the final straw. I imagine that the women and children in the images have endured the abuse for a long time. They’ve taken vengeance into their own hands and murdered their husbands or fathers. In depicting the aftermath of revenge, I’ve chosen to portray the moment of release, the calm after the storm. Domestic violence is something I grew up with. I saw it and heard it as a little kid. It’s been with me all my life; the uncomfortable and horrific situations that you’re in as a victim or a witness. The images in this series are fictitious, but there’s a palpable reality bolstering the invented settings. Though the images suggest a bygone era, it’s my personal experience that I hope gives the characters, props, and even the empty spaces in the images their charged quality.
Victims and Avengers has earned critical accolades, including American Photo’s Grand Prize for the Images of the Year 2007 and a 2007 Lucie Award nomination. Most of the models are actually film actors I know here in Los Angeles. The 24×60-inch prints were shown for the first time at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, in 2007. Over $10,000 from the opening reception’s sales was donated to a local shelter for battered women.