Richmond, Virginia: Joan by Her Pool, 1986
Richmond, Virginia, Joan by Her Pool, 1986


Direct Positive is a collection of forty-two extraordinary images from American photographer Willie Anne Wright, with essays by Denise Bethel, former head of the Photography Department at Sotheby’s, and Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

While Wright has produced several notable projects, including a traveling museum exhibition of her pinhole photography, Civil War Redux, the work featured in Direct Positive comes from her long-time experimentation with Cibachrome materials. Cibachrome, also known as Ilfochrome, was a positive-to-positive color photographic paper produce by Ilford until it was mostly discontinued around 1992.

By loading material designed primarily for use in a darkroom, directly into her cameras and deploying them in the field, the color yielded became very unpredictable; couple that instability with long exposures and the distortion of lensless photography and Wright’s accomplishments become all the more remarkable. Given her early studies in psychology, it is no surprise her work is deeply cerebral, steeped in history and surrealism.  Her use of friends and family as subjects make the work part diary and part through-the-looking-glass fantasy.


Willie Anne Wright, a Richmond, Virginia native, holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also studied photography at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Rockport, Maine and the Visual Studies Workshops in Rochester, New York.

Wright’s work can be found in numerous major permanent collections including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia; the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; the Southeast museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida; the High Museum, Atlanta Georgia; the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana; the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; and many other private and public collections.


Virginia Beach, Virginia, Marsha and the Artichoke, 5.30.1978
Virginia Beach, Virginia, Marsha and the Artichoke, 5.30.1978
Direct Positive by Willie Anne Wright
9.75″  x 11.25″
96 pages, 45 plates
ISBN 978-0-9845739-5-0
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