Kay Lynn Deveney: All You Can Lose is Your Heart
I first met KayLynn Deveney at Review Santa Fe many years ago. She was driving some enormous vintage car belonging to her parents and took me out to breakfast to experience my first sopapillas. She brought a fantastic body of work to the review, that was later made into a book, The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings— beautifully seen and conceived. KayLynn has just released a new monograph, All You Can Lose Is Your Heart, published by Kehrer that speaks to the quirky architecture of the 1950’s and 60’s, specifically the chalet fairytale aesthetic that fits perfectly with our vision of Lucille Ball in a ruffled apron calling to Ethel over her kitchen double door. Though our tastes have shifted over the years, there is still something charming about these odes to fantasy.
KayLynn was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first of two children, she came home from the hospital in a new Mercury and a desert wind storm. KayLynn has earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of New Mexico, a master’s degree in documentary photography from the University of Wales, Newport and a practice-based Ph.D. in photography, also in Newport, that focused on the ways contemporary and historical photographic diaries and self-books address myths of domesticity.
Her photographic work has been exhibited internationally and is held in permanent collections including those of The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Illinois, Light Work in Syracuse, New York and the Portland Art Museum in Oregon.
KayLynn’s first photographic book, The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in August, 2007 and was chosen as an official selection for the Arles Contemporary Book Prize, 2008, selected by PhotoEspana to be shown in “The Best Photography Books” exhibition held at the National Library of Madrid, June and July, 2008, and chosen as one of 20 nominees for the New York Photo Awards “Best Photography Book” award, 2008.
In December 2008, she received an artist grant from the prestigious Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation.
In August 2015, she exhibited her work in the Dali International Photography Exhibition in China and was honored to receive the Redpoll Trophy. KayLynn’s new book, All You Can Lose Is Your Heart, was published by Kehrer Verlag in November of 2015. KayLynn now lives in Northern Ireland and is a full-time lecturer in the Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster. But in the summer, she returns to New Mexico, her friends, her family, and the wind.
All You Can Lose is Your Heart
By KayLynn Deveney
All You Can Lose Is Your Heart is a photographic exploration of “storybook”-style ranch homes built in the American Southwest in the 1950s and 60, when builders, including Jean Valjean Vandruff in California and Dale Bellamah in New Mexico, applied a fairytale aesthetic to the American ranch house exterior using architectural touches such as chalet-style peaks, scalloped fascia boards, and diamond pane windows to evoke a cottage feel. The more than 60 photographs that make up the work allude to photographic architectural typologies while also working in a contemporary social documentary style to highlight the individual, personalized details outside the home. In this way, the photographs reach beyond description to become metaphorical family portraits, images that reflect those living inside. Significant questions are prompted by this work regarding our Western middle-class perceptions of the “ideal” home and the ways those perceptions have shifted as the economy has fluctuated and the model of the nuclear family has come under increasing scrutiny.
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