Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the mess left over.

I just need to visually see something I love today and as someone who's original love is and always will be photography that usually means photos.  I love photography, pure no digital manipulation, because no matter what it is truth. Even if it was set up and staged it existed for a moment as you see it and that is always a comfort for me.

I have always loved the work of Laura Letinsky as her work reminds me of how breathtakingly beautiful a mess can be. Of course her work is highly stylized, made with an incredibly sophisticated knowledge of still life and with careful planning. But in the end it is still sticky lollipops, rotting cantaloupe and dirty dishes and it is f**ing beautiful.

Her choice to embrace white, minimal composition and "the mess" makes me fill with a calm every time I look at it. Since I myself am venturing back to some still life imagery in my own work I am really being drawn to it in others works and she just seems to keep popping up.  See a recent NY times article on her new found success in the "commercial" world here.

One of my most favorite photographs that I ever took has similarities to her work, see it here.  But unlike a staged image this was taken the morning after a small thanksgiving dinner and is the true remnants of an evening with guests. I am definitely more interested in documenting real moments of mess that are beautiful but those of course are a little harder to find.

One quote I found about her work:

Still life is unavoidably an engagement with and commentary upon society’s material-mindedness. Laura Letinsky’s photographs of forgotten details such as wrapping paper, plastic containers, Styrofoam cups, cans, leftover food bits, and found trinkets remark upon these remnants of daily subsistence and pleasure. Of major influence are Dutch-Flemish and Italian still-life paintings whose exacting beauty documented shifting social attitudes resulting from exploration, colonization, economics, and ideas about seeing as a kind of truth. But instead of the traditional allure of a meal awaiting an unseen viewer’s consumption, Letinsky photographs the remains of the table so as to investigate the precarious relationships between ripeness and decay, delicacy and awkwardness, control and haphazardness, waste and plenitude, pleasure and sustenance. What is looked at is "after the fact," what (ma)lingers, what persists, and by inference, what is gone... Little bits and pieces hover in white grounds blown flat by blinding light, later lurking in deep inky grayed out pools. Light, through its abundance and its absence, can record and reveal as well as obscure and exaggerate. Formally, through degrees of control and chaos, the domestic scenes Letinsky photographs are redolent with the allures of domesticity (safety, comfort, familiarity) as well as its dangers (boredom, satiation, lack of desire). These liminal images are not intended as accurate visual description, rather aspiring to describe another kind of sensing. What one sees is not always visible and Letinsky explores photography’s transformative quality, changing what is typically overlooked into something splendid in its resilience."

If only all the mess in my life could be so beautiful.

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