Laura Letinsky via stephen bulgler gallery blogspot

Laura Letinsky

Canada 1962

Photography, Still Life

Laura Letinsky
Laura Letinsky
November 12, 2016
Web journalist, coffee junkie and art fanatic. Cares about the environment, writes for Widewalls. Alias of Milica Jovic

Photographs of food are usually made to make our mouth water but you won’t see any or these mouthwatering images when Laura Letinsky sets the table. The photographer who’s known for her large-scale still life artworks uses raw images of partly eaten food, dirty dishes and messy tablecloths to explore the tension between the reality of everyday events and perfect images of domesticity promoted by the media. There’s something disturbing about these images that simultaneously convey a notion of tension and the destructive forces of humans whose presence is visible in the remainders of their actions.

The use of modern food gives a current feel to I Did Not Remember I Had Forgotten series
Laura Letinsky – Untitled #54, 2002 from the I Did Not Remember I Had Forgotten series

Still Life Photography by Laura Letinsky

Laura Letinsky was born in 1962 in Winnipeg, Canada. After graduating from Yale University in 1991, the photographer has started her career by taking pictures of couples in the intimacy of their own homes by creating a series of visual artworks that focused on love and relationships. In the 1990s she made a swift turn to photographing still life that brought her the fame she enjoys today. The artist was attracted to this genre because of a way that food is considered feminine due to its affiliation with home and domesticity. For more than fifteen years, Laura Letinsky has explored this tension between the small domestic matters and large social structures. Her photographs emerge from the process of carefully arranging half eaten pieces of fruit, vegetable, candies and other types of food. The photographer keeps several tables in her studio filled with various food-related objects and images. These objects are then arranged in compositions similar to artworks made by old masters. The compositions are reminiscent of the 17-century Dutch artist’s works but unlike the images from the past that depict food normally consumed by the high class, photographs by Laura Letinsky are far less likely to cause envy among the viewers. The artist has modernized the buffet and her images show everyday food including lemons, tea, and ice cream sundaes. Laura Letinsky’s use of color offten highlights pastels. Creating the compositions can last from several minutes to several days and arranging the light is equally time-consuming as the artist sometimes spends all day waiting for the light to be just right before taking the photo.

Semi-eaten food and dirty dishes are recurrent motifs in the artworks by Laura Letinsky

The visual artwork Untitled #64 resembles 17th century paintings in terms of establishing contact with the viewers
Laura Letinsky – Untitled #64, 2002, from the series Hardly More Than Ever, via

Cannibalizing One’s Body of Work

Laura Letinsky takes photography that explores “the problem of the illusion of perfection[1] Her imagery is far from the flawlessly decorated wedding cakes and perfect pictures of food seen in the magazines. Trough cannibalizing her body of work, every Laura Letinsky photograph presents the moment after, the food that’s already eaten and all that’s left is to clean up the mess. That’s why half eaten apples, dirty dishes, and scattered cake crumbs are a common motif in her work. Laura Letinsky scenery usually involves a setting of a place where someone just got up and left their meal after a huge row. The artist only provides a hint of what may have happened with many things left to the viewer’s imagination. Many missing parts of the narrative make people wanting to know more about the photograph, to discover the story behind the composition and the faith of the missing pieces.Though food is the main object on her pieces, photos by Laura Letinsky aren’t about the food itself. They are more about exploring human perspective. They are about the way shapes, light and line come together to form the way we observe our environment. In a way, we can even say that her works are about the photography itself. The artist was always attracted by the way that photography equalizes things. In her own confession, the artist has mix filings about the fact that “A piece of schmutz and a Tiffany diamond become the same thing once they’re photographed—they become photographs.”[2]

Ill Form and Void Full series references idealized pictures from Martha Stewart magazines

In terms of material Laura Letinsky's current series is made from Archival pigment print and Hanhemule paper
Laura Letinsky – Untitled 3, from Ill Form and Void Full Series

A Professor and a Published Author

Throughout her career the artist published several books including Space/Sight/Self, Now Again, Venus, After All, and her most famous print publication entitled Hardly More Than Ever that encompasses photos taken from the time period between 1997 and 2004. Hardly More Than Ever art book is packed with images of damaged half eaten food as the artist explores the way that the domestic space is constructed on television or in magazines. Unlike popular pictures where homes are always perfectly clean and set up Laura Letinsky created photographic space to comment on the fictional image of a perfect home. Her works present home as it often is – messy, and tumultuous. Apart from being an artist Laura Letinsky is also a Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. Recent exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Gallery m Bochum, Germany, The Photographers Gallery, London, and J.P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Laura Letinsky lives and works in Chicago.


  1. Sholis B. Interview with Laura Letinsky, Aperture [ November 11, 2016]
  2. Haughney C.(2012) “>Giving Leftovers a New Place at the Table, The New York Times [November 11, 2016]

Featured image : Laura Letinsky – Portrait photograph courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery
Images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Still Life Photographs, 1997School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, ManitobaSolo
2015Ecstatic, EvenGalerie m Bochum, BochumSolo
2015A Moment on the LipsValerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2014Laura LetinskyValerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2014Still Life Photographs (1997Grunwald Gallery of Art at Indiana University, Bloomington, INSolo
2014Yours, More PrettyYancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2014Tableware and Some PicturesParis London Hong Kong, Chicago, ILSolo
2013Still Life Photographs, 1997–2012Rodman Hall Art Centre, St. Catharines, ONSolo
2013Ill Form And Void FullThe Photographers' Gallery, LondonSolo
2012Still Life Photographs, 1997–2012Denver Art Museum, Denver, COSolo
2012Ill Form and Void FullValerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2012Ill Form & Void FullYancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2012Hot And Cold All OverCarroll and Sons, Boston, MASolo
2011What MattersNorth Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, NDSolo
2011After AllStephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, ONSolo
2010To PeachDonald Young Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2010After AllYancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2010To PeachDonald Young Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2010The Dog and The WolfMoniquemeloche, Chicago, ILSolo
2009To Want for NothingBrancolini Grimaldi, Florence, FlorenceSolo
2009LikenessJames Hyman Fine Art, LondonSolo
2008Before the colors deepened and grew small Stillleben I Still lifesGalerie m Bochum, BochumSolo
2007Laura Letinskymoniquemeloche, Chicago, ILSolo
2007Dirty Pretty ThingsBrancolini Grimaldi, London, LondonSolo
2007Dirty Pretty ThingsBrancolini Grimaldi, FlorenceSolo
2007To Say It Isn't SoYancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2007Somewhere, SomewhereStephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, ONSolo
2006Somewhere, somewhereJames Harris Gallery, Seattle, WASolo
2006Somewhere, SomewhereOakville Galleries, Oakville, ONSolo
2006Hardly More Than Ever Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CASolo
2005Laura LetinskyGalerie Kusseneers, AntwerpSolo
2005Laura LetinskyMoniquemeloche, Chicago, ILSolo
2004Hardly More Than EverStephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, ONSolo
2004Hardly More Than Ever The Renaissance Society, Chicago, ILSolo
2004Aftermath - Laura Letinsky Still Life PhotographsThe Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OHSolo
2003Laura LetinskyMichael Hoppen Contemporary, LondonSolo
2003Laura LetinskyEdwynn Houk Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2003Laura Letinskymoniquemeloche, Chicago, ILSolo
2002Laura LetinskyStephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, ONSolo
2002Some Things I KnowMcAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, ILSolo
2002Morning and MelancholiaEdwynn Houk Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
1998Venus Inferred-Photographs by Laura LetinskyPhotographs by Laura LetinskySolo
1994Laura LetinskyPresentation House Gallery, PHG, North Vancouver, BCSolo
1993Intimate Stages OpticaCentre for contemporary art, Montreal, QCSolo
1991Recent WorkPlatform: Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts, Winnipeg, ManitobaSolo
1985Recent WorkPlatform: Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts, Winnipeg, ManitobaSolo
2016(Infra) Structure: Complex, Below And Further OnLannan Foundation, Santa Fe, NMGroup
2016Lux: The Radiant SeaYancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2016trans_latePlug Projects, Kansas City, MOGroup
2016(Not So) Still LifeWave Hill, New York City, NYGroup
2016Terms of Use: Reproducing the Photographic ImageGlass Curtain Gallery, Columbia College, Chicago, ILGroup
2015Made to CaptureHunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJGroup
2015Beyond Real: Still Life in the 21st CenturyCenter for the Arts at Virginia Tech, BlacksburgGroup
2015A Room of One's OwnYancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
201520th AnniversaryStephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, ONGroup
2015Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary ArtWeisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2015FlorilegiaCamilla Grimaldi Gallery, LondonGroup
2014B L A N K _ S P A C E Galerie m Bochum, BochumGroup
2014Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary ArtThe Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, Gambier, OHGroup
2014The Thing ItselfYancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2014Convergences: Selected Photographs from the Permanent CollectionThe Getty Center, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2014The 1st Xinjiang International Arts BiennaleUrumqi International Exhibition Center, UrumqiGroup
2014Outdoor DiscoValerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2014Tales of Mystery and ImaginationGalerie Michael Sturm, StuttgartGroup
2014Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary ArtSite Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NMGroup
2013Carl Schuch und die zeitgenössische StilllebenfotografieKunstsammlungen Zwickau, Städtisches Museum, ZwickauGroup
2013Still Life Lives!Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MAGroup
2013Under InvestigationValerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2013Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary ArtBlaffer Art Museum, at the University of Houston, Houston, TXGroup
2013Carl Schuch und die zeitgenössische StilllebenFotografie,Stadtmuseum Siegburg, SiegburgGroup
2013Still -Aktuelle StilllebenRLB Kunstbrücke, InnsbruckGroup
2013Carl Schuch und die aktuelle StillebenfotografieMuseum der Stadt Ratingen, RatingenGroup
2012Where I Lived, and What I Lived ForOakville Galleries, Oakville, ONGroup
2012More Photos About Buildings and FoodGallery 339, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2012Room In My Head: Staging Psychological SpacesGallery 1600,Savannah College of Art and Design SCAD, Atlanta, GAGroup
2012FlowerPowerGalerie ABTART, StuttgartGroup
2012Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary ArtSmart Museum of Art, Chicago, ILGroup
2011Still Life: RevisitedEverson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NYGroup
2011SublimationOakville Galleries, Oakville, ONGroup
2011Judith Belzer, Susanna Coffey, Laura Letinsky and Jim LutesValerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2010End Of SummerJoseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CAGroup
2010StillGalerie m Bochum, BochumGroup
2010Other People's FictionKenise Barnes Fine Arts, Larchmont, NYGroup
2009Still SeennRobert Klein Gallery, Boston, MAGroup
2008InteriorHales Gallery, LondonGroup
2008Stilles Lebenfound Galerie, HamburgGroup
2008What We Bring to the TableOakville Galleries, Oakville, ONGroup
2008Recent Acquisitions: Focus on ChicagoMuseum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago, ILGroup
2007Seeing ThingsDorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs (DGCP), New York City, NYGroup
20077. Internationale Foto Triennale-Identität / Identitätskonstruktion / Heimat, villaMERKEL|BAHNWÄRTERhaus, EsslingenGroup
2007in(habitations): Photoworks by: Frank Armstrong, Stephen DiRado, Laura Letinsky, Alec SothJudy Ann Goldman Fine Art, Boston, MAGroup
2007Still LifePulliam Gallery , Portland, ORGroup
2007Allusive MomentsRena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2006Eleven ContemporariesMichael Hoppen Contemporary, LondonGroup
2006Sven Braun, filderbahnfreundemöhringen, Laura LetinskyGalerie Michael Sturm, StuttgartGroup
2006Up To Date-Monsen Collects ContemporaryHenry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WAGroup
2006Taken for Looks-Imaging Food in ContemporaryDaytona Beach Community College, Daytona Beach, FLGroup
2006the living is easyFlowers Galleries, Kingsland Road, LondonGroup
2006Summer SelectionsJoseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CAGroup
2006Home of the FreeHyde Park Art Center, Chicago, ILGroup
2006Mind Matter # 2Galerie Kusseneers, AntwerpGroup
2005Time's Arrow - Twelve Random Thoughts on Beauty,BRIC Rotunda Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2005Acting Out - Invented Melodrama in Contemporary Photography Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NYGroup
2005EpilogueJackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GAGroup
2005Ripe for Picking, Fruit & FlowersJim Kempner Fine Art, New York City, NYGroup
2005Slow DownPilar Parra & Romero Galería de Arte, MadridGroup
2004D.W. Mellor & Laura LetinskyRobert Klein Gallery, Boston, MAGroup
2004Truth Matters: The Meaning of ObjectsHouston Center for Photography, Houston, TXGroup
2004Laura Letinsky & Osman Khan: Pleasure & SustenanceBank, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2004Domicile, A Sense Of PlaceCenter on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WAGroup
2003Locating Intimacy: The Space BetweenSF Camerawork, San Francisco, CAGroup
2002HomeWinnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, ManitobaGroup
2002Face Off: Works by Chicago Photographers in the Smart Museum CollectionSmart Museum of Art, Chicago, ILGroup
2001Confidences -Parce Que C'etait Lui, Parce Que C'etait Moi Casino Luxembourg, Forum d'art contemporain, LuxembourgGroup
2000Watchful EyesCatherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
1997Then and NowSmart Museum of Art, Chicago, ILGroup
1996Don Baum Says: Chicago Has Famous ArtistsHyde Park Art Center, Chicago, ILGroup
1986Social/LandscapesPlatform: Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts, Winnipeg, ManitobaGroup