Laura Letinsky: Time's Assignation

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In Laura Letinsky: Time’s Assignation the Polaroid―now an anachronistic format, a leftover of photographic history―is conjoined with the photographer’s trademark subject matter: the remains of meals and appetites never entirely sated.

Chicago-based photographer Laura Letinsky (born 1962) used Polaroid Type 55 film as part of her working process until the film was discontinued in 2008, exploring focus, composition, exposure and light in black-and-white instant photographs as she worked up to the larger-scale color works for which she is best known. Like sketches, the photographs in this volume―small, slow and raw―reveal a process of asking. This way or that? More or less? Now or then?

A Polaroid is a fugitive thing, beautiful in its decomposition, subject to change as much as the still life compositions of ripe fruits and nibbled foods that Letinsky arranges. Time’s Assignation collects Polaroids taken by the photographer in her studio between 1997 and 2008, now stabilized, their high-key tones slipping into white veils and darker tones metallized in hues of taupe, gold and gunmetal gray. These photographs offer a record of Letinsky’s working process, but are a compelling body of photographic work in their own right, exploring time’s unrelenting progression in their subject matter and materiality.

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