of letting go and holding on in relation to memory,
as well as the subject matter of the still life
which is so much mired in notions of holding
onto the object and how it’s valued and how it’s
remembered and how it’s imaged.”
The idea for Time’s Assignation came about
after Radius published Letinsky’s book Ill Form &
Void Full, a series of color still lifes. Letinsky and
publisher David Chickey talked about what they
might do next, and she thought of the Polaroids.
She hadn’t fixed the pictures as she was making
them because she hadn’t intended to keep them,
so the Polaroid chemicals “kept on working on
the image” until they eventually stabilized.
She had hundreds of them, she says, that she
couldn’t “bear to throw away” because they
were “really beautiful.”
The “faux aging” caused by the Polaroid
process also interested her because it makes her
images look older than they are. “Yet there is also
the very real fact that this type of film is no longer
made,” she explains. The speed of technology has
accelerated our concept of what is “old.” “Polaroid
came and went within a very short framework,”
Letinsky notes. “Speaking about photography,
about material objects, about how we value the
experiential and how we value the world is really
what’s at stake in these photographs.”
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ABOVE: From the series “Hardly More Than Ever, Berlin,” 1997. Letinsky’s Polaroids highlight photography
as a tool for producing serial images. With many choices to pick from, “to choose ‘the one [image]’...
speaks to certain ideas in modernism about there being ‘one,’” she says.