You know that feeling you get sometimes when you’re doing something really good and you suddenly realise that it will be something you will miss one day? A nostalgia before the event has passed? Well that is the feeling you get when reading or looking at anything by Leanne Shapton and it is deliciously intoxicating.
Perhaps it is the subjects she chooses, cataloguing objects shared within a relationship now ended, writing about a life not quite lived or of being haunted by the person one used to be. It all sounds a bit romantic but the stories’ inconclusiveness, their not-quite-but-almost narrative prevent that from happening. Instead we are immersed in other people’s lives, their banal routines and odd collection of objects, their hidden pasts and bizarre eating habits. We see them in the black and white polaroids or in the beautiful prints of Shapton’s own creation that feed into the text and assume them as our own.
Her most recent book Swimming Studies is by far our favourite, telling the story of Shapton’s ‘almost’ career as an Olympic swimmer, though be warned, upon reading you will find yourself hungry for the chlorinated depths of the local swimming pool.