Albert Hastings, aged 91 years, has lost his wife early in life. His daughter and his grandson are both dead too. Albert Hastings is a survivor. Or to put it differently, he was left alone.
If I may trust my eyes, if I may trust the photographs of Kay Lynn Deveney and the writings of Albert Hastings, then he isn’t suffering from his age, or his existence. He takes it as it is, and as it comes.
Kay Lyn’s work is unspectacular, because life is just an everyday matter.
Her respect of Albert Hastings and her interest in his person are present in every image of her. Albert Hastings is commenting the photographs taken of him, and Lynn Deveney ads his short lines on an equal footing to her images. Consequently Mr. Hastings is mentioned as the coauthor.
From an object to be photographed he turns into a subject influencing and interpreting the photographic procedure.
This doesn’t happen very often in the world of photography.
Kay Lynn Deveney has included four of his poems in the book.
One goes like this:
Kay Lynn Deveney links together traces of having lived and still living,
portraits of Albert Hastings, and reproductions of his writings,
his sketches and old photographs of his wife.
A tear in his curtains, his medication side by side with the photographs depicting his dear ones, a hand, his hand, in a hospital bed, and finally his handwriting, which becomes more and more insecure, this handwriting of him, which movements and trembling I follow up again and again with my eyes.
Kay Lynn Deveney wants to do justice to her protagonist; this might be the reason for including images, that don’t brag with originality.
But yes, there also are those images that can exist alone. I want to mention the graphic rhythm of the black socks, dangling down from a combination of filigree cloth hangers, an installation, that when recognized as installation, could find its place in an exhibition space. Then two almost identical images, in which only the color of the pajama top changes, containing a reference to the uniformly passing time of this old man, also being a reference to the rituals he is structuring his life with, a reference to his daily routines. Here are the images in which Kay Lynn Deveney succeeds to find abstraction in reality.
One of my favorites is this image, that almost bears the tectonic quality of a landscape, and reminds me of a painting by Ferdinand Hodler, who was painting his beloved one before she got cancer, while being terribly ill and even after having died.
Because I don’t earn enough selling my prints, I am working as an unskilled social worker, in a housing area for people living on low income. Its mostly old or very old people, who found here an apartment to live in, more women than men, men generally die earlier.
These are the woman who lived through world war II, these are the women who were displaced from their homelands, these are the women who worked all their lives, brought up their children, and nursed their sick and old parents, these are the women, now living on welfare, because they never had enough income, these are the women, now old and frail, sitting in their admittedly nice apartments listening to the noise from outside, and to the noises caused by their neighbors. Sitting there and waiting.
Looking at their present, I know, that I am looking into what possibly could be my future.
The generations are separated and don’t know much of each other. The old ones have forgotten what it means to be a child, the old ones don’t understand why the middle aged are that impatient and seem to have forgotten them, and we, the younger ones can’t imagine how it will be to be old.
So I look closely at Mr. Albert Hastings doings, and recognize what I have seen already.
The posts connected with Albert Hastings start here.