The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings

KayLynn Deveney

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


This research developed a new way of working with a non-artist collaborator to produce a photographic piece that challenged notions of home and revealed the often-hidden subjectivity innate in the negotiation of photo-documentary work. By asking the collaborator to caption photographs of himself, his possessions, and his home, a critical context was created that gave the subject a voice and the opportunity to direct viewers in their reading of the images. This in turn allowed for an atypical power relationship between documentary photographer and subject and a more even-handed approach to biographical storytelling, addressing critical concerns with imbalances in such relationships. The research also took on notions of home by examining the detailed ways we personalize our private spaces, assign meaning to objects, and “curate” the environments in which we live. Historical examples of the combination of photography and autobiographical text, or context, were explicated in my Ph.D. thesis on the Victorian albums of Mary Cholmondeley, Charlotte Milles, and Kate Gough, all of which address aspects of home life. Works including Larry Sultan’s ‘Pictures From Home’ and Anna Fox’s ‘My Mother’s Cupboards and My Father’s Words’ and ‘Cockroach Diaries,’ provide a contemporary backdrop for related work on the domestic terrain. ‘For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness’ is an appropriate comparison in terms of ageing and autonomy. The initial photographic collaborations were pre-published in book form in August, 2007 by Princeton Architectural Press, New York (Not in previous RAE). Subsequently, the book was chosen as an official selection for the Arles Contemporary Book Prize and selected by PhotoEspana to be shown in The Best Photography Books exhibition held at the National Library of Madrid. Where the initial publication explored the format of a photographic personal journal, this subsequent research addressed how the diary form could translate into a gallery/museum context. In the exhibition, facsimile objects, ephemera, handwritten texts, and contextual information developed a new articulation methodology for the subjective and personal aspects of the research exchange. The work was exhibited in this form, in various installations, between 2008 and 2012, and some accompanying catalogues were published (see portfolio of evidence). A solo exhibition was reviewed in The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, June 7, 2008 (USA), and the work was additionally featured or reviewed in 15 international magazines, including Magenta Magazine, Jan. 2008 (Canada), The Daily Mail Weekend Magazine, April 5, 2008 (UK), Vision Magazine June 2008 (China) and The Montreal Gazette, Mar. 9, 2009 (Canada). The New York Times also featured the work on its blog Opinionator in 2008. The work was also included in a volume of photographic criticism in 2011 (see portfolio of evidence). Prints from the work are held in the permanent collections of The Portland Museum of Art, Oregon, USA, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois, USA, Light Work, Syracuse, New York, USA.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2008
EventThe Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings - Getxophoto Festival, Sep. 1 - 30, 2011, Bilbao and Feb. 13 – April 21, 2013, Lima, Peru (Galeria Centro Cultural PUCP) / Bilbao, Spain and Lima, Peru
Duration: 1 Sep 201130 Sep 2011


  • The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings
  • KayLynn Deveney
  • Photography
  • Portraits
  • Ageing
  • Home


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