All You Can Lose is Your Heart

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. This project, which represents the first time these houses have been the subject of a published photographic work, consists of more than 60 photographs. The images 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 the 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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