Lateness and Longing: On the Afterlife of Photography
How a generation of women artists is transforming photography with analogue techniques.
Beginning in the 1990s, a series of major artists imagined the expansion of photography, intensifying its ideas and effects while abandoning many of its former medium constraints. Simultaneous with this development in contemporary art, however, photography was moving toward total digitalization.
Lateness and Longing presents the first account of a generation of artists—focused on the work of Zoe Leonard, Tacita Dean, Sharon Lockhart, and Moyra Davey—who have collectively transformed the practice of photography, using analogue technologies in a dissident way and radicalizing signifiers of older models of feminist art. All these artists have resisted the transition to the digital in their work. Instead—in what amounts to a series of feminist polemics—they return to earlier, incomplete, or unrealized moments in photography’s history, gravitating toward the analogue basis of photographic mediums. Their work announces that photography has become—not obsolete—but “late,” opened up by the potentially critical forces of anachronism.
Through a strategy of return—of refusing to let go—the work of these artists proposes an afterlife and survival of the photographic in contemporary art, a formal lateness wherein photography finds its way forward through resistance to the contemporary itself.