149 - Paul Graham

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By Ben Smith. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Influential English photographer Paul Graham has published three survey monographs, along with 17 other publications.

In 1981, he completed his first body of work, A1 - The Great North Road, which he later self-published as a book, re-printed in 2020 by Mack. The series of colour photographs captured life along England’s ageing arterial road, the A1, from the city of London to Edinburgh’s main post office. The pioneering series went on to receive critical acclaim, and was followed by Beyond Caring, a visual record of unemployment in Britain under Margaret Thatcher, and Troubled Land, which depicted landscapes in Northern Ireland during the years of the Troubles. Paul’s use of colour film in the early 1980s, at a time when British photography was dominated by traditional black-and-white social documentary, had a revolutionising effect on the genre.

Paul has since gone on to produce over 12 further bodies of work, incuding New Europe, hailed in Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s influential reference The Photobook: A History as “a key work of the new European photography”, and perhaps his most celebrated series, the twelve-volume collection entitled A Shimmer of Possibility, created in collaboration with steidlMACK, which summarizes Paul's interest in calling attention to overlooked activities or places. The book won the 2011 Paris Photo Book Prize for the most important photography book published in the past 15 years. The work was included as part of a 2015 survey of Paul’s trilogy of series’ from America, entitiled The Whiteness of the Whale, which was exhibited at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Paul’s work has been the subject of more than eighty international solo exhibitions and has been shown in the Italian Pavilion of the 49th Venice Biennale, Switzerland's national Fotomuseum Winterthur and at New York City's Museum of Modern Art. He was included in Tate's Cruel and Tender survey exhibition of 20th century photography, and a European mid career survey exhibition at Museum Folkwang, Essen, which toured to the Deichtorhallen, Germany, and Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Paul has been awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, the Hasselblad Award, the W. Eugene Smith Grant, received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Royal Photographic Society Award. In the early 2000s he moved to New York City where he settled and still lives with his partner and their son.

On episode 149, Paul discusses, among other things:

Referenced:

Website

“You don’t need to be a photographer seeking out the spectacular, the amazing prize-winning moments. There is a power to the every day and an insight can be gained through gently looking at it.”

154 episodes