Laura Letinsky

The photographer Laura Letinsky creates atmospheric images that fuse the classical tradition of the still life with the spare, minimalistic tactics of contemporary art. Placing everyday foods—from lollypops to peeled fruit—against a backdrop of near-blinding white, she creates tableaux that bring our attention to the moment after: the overripe melon, the leftover, the morning-after-the-party tabletop, all metaphors for what remains, what stains, what cannot be avoided. Her work never shows the human subject, yet the notion of people is ever present in Letinsky's visual narrative, which speaks of temporality, fragility, potential, and decay. Her meticulous photographs are at once off-putting and attractive, seducing the viewer but maintaining a clinical distance.

Letinsky is professor and chair of the department of visual arts at the University of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Netherlands Foto Institute, and it has also been published in the New York Times magazine.