Friday, December 21, 2012

Paul Graham's American trilogy - Gerry Badger writes in BJP

With the 2012 publication of the The Present, Paul Graham has completed his American trilogy.
Writer Gerry Badger has never been short of words and photographer Paul Graham of pictures. Graham mentioned at his Hasselblad award presentation in Paris in November that he shot over 47,000 frames to arrive at his edit for his The Present series.
In the British Journal of Photography of December 20, Gerry Badger writes and gives an overview of Paul Graham's American series work and his practice.

What is photography about? This is the question every photographer must ask him or herself every day - and the answers are as varied as the number of photographs in the world. And that, as we know, has increased exponentially in the years since John Szarkowski compared the number of photographs to the number of bricks; since the advent of the internet, there are far more photographs around than bricks.

Every photographer answers the question in the images they make, but not so many choose to answer it formally by making a trio of high-profile photobooks. That is what Paul Graham has done in his ‘American trilogy' - American Night (2003), a shimmer of possibility (2006) and The Present (2012). Note that the question I have posed asks what ‘photography' is about, not photographic art or the photographic media. Photography, pure and simple. Well, hardly pure and hardly simple. Graham has consistently questioned the notion of photography as art - ‘conceptual' photography, fabricated photography, artsy-fartsy photography - not because these genres are bereft of achievement, but because they have achieved a certain cultural hegemony in the art market and museum. "There remains a sizeable part of the art world that simply does not get photography. They get artists who use photography to illustrate their ideas, installations, performances and concepts, who ‘deploy' the medium as one of a range of artistic strategies to complete their work. But photography for and of itself - photographs taken from the world as it is - are misunderstood as a collection of random observations and lucky moments, or muddled up with photojournalism, or tarred with a semi-derogatory ‘documentary' tag," he has said.

You can read the complete piece HERE

And you can go to the Paul Graham archive HERE

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