Kalin Haydon is a photographer from Edwardsville, IL. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2012, and is a current MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. Haydon’s work tends to look to the past to say something about the present. Her current work explores post-war Americana leisure activities in the form of bingo halls and bowling leagues. Haydon’s work creates a nostalgic perspective of a contemporary tradition rooted in the past.
Instead of going to a daycare my Grandma and Grandpa Drainer and my Grandma Haydon would come to my house and watch me during the week while my parents went to work. Many days they would tell stories from growing up in the 1920s during the depression, of how they would only pay a nickel for gas, their evenings at the Knights of Columbus hall playing bingo, or how good my Grandma was at bowling. Their leisure activities were passed down to me on Friday nights when my Grandpa would help run bingo night and my Grandma would run the food counter.
Declining visitors to bingo halls and bowling allies is evidence of a fleeting culture that was made popular by a generation that is slowly dwindling. But on big jackpot nights or league nights these quiet havens are filled to the brim with a variety of people of all ages. I travel around to various bingo halls and bowling allies in the Midwest, searching for the commonality between the two activities and examining how their communities survive in the contemporary world.
Bingo halls and bowling allies have always been a part of my life. I have been playing bingo since I was 18, and bowling throughout my childhood. Over the years I have experienced that every bingo hall and bowling alley feels the same, filled with the same characters. Their tchotchke lined bingo cards or their personalized bowling shirts speak to a post-war Americana culture. I am interested in these social spaces in Middle America and the people that frequent them to stay connected to a time that my grandparents spoke so highly of.
To view more of Kalin’s work please visit her website.