KayLynn Deveney created a series of 83 photographs that were presented into a book format, complete with handwritten captions by Albert Hastings, along with an assortment of his poems, drawings and family photographs. The project documents his life and his daily events. The book is beautifully simple yet complex at the same time. It’s all about the simple things that Albert Hastings has going on in his life, as well as the medical issues he faces as a part of becoming older.
Deveney met Hastings in 2001 as they both lived in the same neighbourhood in Wales and this is how she came to meet and get to know Albert. When she approached him about a photographic project she began to develop and evolve life around him and his everyday goings. Speaking about the project Deveney says that:
“I often seek in my photographs the banal moments of the day—the experiences not usually considered significant enough to warrant a snapshot. I look, too, for domestic patterns and practiced daily routines that make us feel at home or that confirm, or conform to, our ideas of what home should be.”
When Deveney was photographic she noticed that Albert shared some intriguing thoughts and comments with her concerning images she made of it. This made Deveney think about how she perceived ‘Bert’ was vastly different o how he perceived himself. She made the decision to open herself up to better understand his feelings and what his reactions where by asking him to caption the images she kept in a small pocket-sized notebook. Albert’s captions gave a new context to the work and shaped the images, allowing alternative perspectives on the work. This is a good and considerate use of collaborative photography. Deveney was actively encouraging and allowing Albert to shape and contribute to the work, where she saw he may not have been happy with certain perceptions of himself. Giving him the freedom to caption the images gave him that freedom to feel he had more control about what was going on and the images themselves.
Deveney has said that as a result of the end project she feels that she is richer for being informed by one another, not just having taken the images and put them together in her own way. She still retains her individual perspectives but feels so much richer for being able to explore Albert’s perspectives too.
The entire project is a fantastic example of collaborative photography and the beautiful product that you can get. I absolutely love the project and am so drawn to the way in which Albert was allowed to take ownership of the images and make them his own essentially. He was able to input what was being shown and give his opinions and observations. The added handwritten captions are a beautiful addition as they has retained a piece of him in them because it’s his handwriting.
The book is fantastic and I think it pays real homage to Albert Hastings and even though the project may seem to convey not very much, it conveys the simplicity of everybody’s daily life. Sometimes its not the big moments, sometimes its the little moments that we need to remember the most. The menial moments like this happen all the time but are lesser appreciated, and Deveney’s representation is one that I really love and think is a beautiful creation within photography and collaboration. She was considerate of his wishes and got some fantastic results that she can be proud of and he would have been happy with. It’s all about representation and understanding your subject and what they want to get from it, not just your own motives and Deveney has done this in the most considerate way I’ve seen so far and I really applaud her results. the photography is tender and gentle and simple, but her use of light is so well considered that it makes the menial beautiful and the simplistic complex. She has a real eye for photography and the square format images look strong and amazing within her combination of still-life and portraiture. The vast range of images she’s got from an everyday environment is incredible and she has proven that the everyday things are interesting, it’s just a matter of how you look at them and how you collaborate with the subject in order to get the results you want.