Kayla Story

Kayla Story submitted this project to us awhile back and we fell in love. She has continued to make images related to this body of work and because she submitted this project to our Issue No.12 call for entry, we wanted to share it with you again! Kayla was born in Washington state on a military base in 1988. Story’s photographic work is driven by an exploration of how we shape identity through relationships to people, place, and personal history. The subjects she typically chooses are intimate in nature but also somewhat detached, inspired by her life’s unforgiving procession from place to place and community to community, every 2 years in her youth.

Story received a BFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2011. She is currently a studio assistant in Madison, WI and is preparing to enroll in UW Madison’s MFA program in Studio Art for the Fall of 2017. She has been awarded scholarships to two summer programs on the photographic portrait at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado for 2015 and 2017.
Her work has been reviewed and published by Aint-Bad, Indestructable Energy Zine (London, UK), and Slideluck (Austin, TX).


The word is traditionally Welsh, though poorly translatable to an english vernacular. The best the internet can produce as way of definition is: (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

The part of the translation that alludes to the feeling of loss being connected to a place or past that may not have ever existed, piqued my curiosity. The idea of home and place of origin which one can fall back on has always been an abstract concept for me growing up in a military household. Though, for most, where we come from plays a large roll in how we define ourselves. The leaven of the project is the idea that we can construct nostalgia, construct self, without having ever had the wholeness of experience for which we yearn. The photographs are meant to take on the unrealistic notion of perfection that has built up over time in our national psyche; the life we thought we would have and at times still cling to, and the one we were actually given.

To see more of Kayla’s photographs, we invite you to visit her website.