Upstream is a series of portraits of young people with cognitive and developmental disabilities. It was produced in collaboration with Upstream Arts, a Minneapolis based non-profit, whose mission is to “enhance the lives of adults and youth with disabilities by fostering creative communication and social independence through the power of arts education.” The idea of the project was to create straight on, unsentimental portraits that show the complex human beings behind the disabilities. The images were used in Upstream Arts’ annual report and each subject received a Magcloud magazine from the project. The exhibition, Upstream, closes tonight in conjunction with the Upstream Art Fundraiser.
Upstream Arts invited the art students and their families to be part of Anschütz’s shoot. He explains, “we set up a studio at a Community Center in St. Paul and our tightly scheduled models arrived throughout the afternoon. Since I was shooting digitally, I was able to immediately show them the images on a monitor, which helped a lot with the collaboration. The models had a wide range of disabilities and our interactions reflected that. Quite a bit of the communication between the models and me happened non-verbally. To be in a photo production like this was very unusual for virtually all of the sitters and there was quite a high energy on the set, but being in front of the camera was also exhausting for many of them and often we had to stop shooting after 10 minutes. Overall I felt very fortunate about the openness and sense of generosity with which these young people approached the shoot.”