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Lateness and Longing

On the Afterlife of Photography

How a generation of women artists is transforming photography with analogue techniques.
Beginning in the 1990s, a series of major artists imagined the expansion of photography, intensifying its ideas and effects while abandoning many of its former medium constraints. Simultaneous with this development in contemporary art, however, photography was moving toward total digitalization.
Lateness and Longing presents the first account of a generation of artists—focused on the work of Zoe Leonard, Tacita Dean, Sharon Lockhart, and Moyra Davey—who have collectively transformed the practice of photography, using analogue technologies in a dissident way and radicalizing signifiers of older models of feminist art. All these artists have resisted the transition to the digital in their work. Instead—in what amounts to a series of feminist polemics—they return to earlier, incomplete, or unrealized moments in photography’s history, gravitating toward the analogue basis of photographic mediums. Their work announces that photography has become—not obsolete—but “late,” opened up by the potentially critical forces of anachronism.
Through a strategy of return—of refusing to let go—the work of these artists proposes an afterlife and survival of the photographic in contemporary art, a formal lateness wherein photography finds its way forward through resistance to the contemporary itself.

520 pages | 276 color plates | 9 x 10 | © 2023

Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Collection

Art: Photography

Film Studies

Media Studies


Lateness and Longing is a work of great originality and a significant contribution to the history and theory of art, as well as to the criticism of contemporary photography. Through his close critical readings, Baker presents exhaustive critical accounts of four important artists, revealing how the figure of lateness achieves a kind of intimacy within their practices and developing an original conceptual vocabulary for the philosophy of photography.”

D. N. Rodowick, author of An Education in Judgment: Hannah Arendt and the Humanities

“Multifaceted, innovative, and provocative, Lateness and Longing provides an original account of photographic anachronism, working through its cultural, social, aesthetic, and philosophical dimensions.”

Sabine Kriebel, author of Revolutionary Beauty: The Radical Photomontages of John Heartfield

“Photography and art criticism are not obsolete but they are in eclipse, and that is where George Baker finds them. In the shadows, there is redemption and the promise of unpredictable reemergence. Baker sifts through the situation like a twenty-first-century Baudelairean, in the company of some of the most compelling contemporary artists. To find what? Revolutionary cause? Melancholy consolation? Something of both, along with a deeper understanding of what the past does for us, and with us, today.”

David Campany, author of On Photographs

Table of Contents

Introduction: Lateness and Longing
1. You See I Am Here After All: Zoe Leonard
2. Film and Other Fatigues I: Tacita Dean
3. Film and Other Fatigues II: Tacita Dean
4. The Photographic Echo: Sharon Lockhart
5. The Absent Photograph: Moyra Davey
Afterword: Late Criticism

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