Paul Graham

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Paul Graham (born 1956 UK) discovered the photographic art world whilst studying Microbology at the University of Bristol in the 1970's, after graduating he made the decision to dedicate his work to the practice of photography. He was an influential figure in British documentary photography in the 1980's, his three early projects The Great North Road, Beyond Caring & Troubled Land were shot in colour and Large Format at a time where the norm was black and white 35mm. Graham's projects almost always combine a social documentary study (often into conflicts or under represented groups) with a critique of photography itself and an exploration of what the medium can accomplish. In my opinion he is one of the most influential practitioners to help bring documentary photography into the Gallery Context. This is perhaps best summed up by his winning of the Deustche Borsche prize in 2009 for A Shimmer of Possibility.

Click here for a link to the biography on Paul Graham's website.
Click here for a link to a biography featured on the Pace/MacGill gallery website.

Selected Projects

Beyond Caring
Troubled Land

Review of Ceasefire in Frieze magazine, Issue 20 Jan - Feb 1995 by Mark Durgen.

"To turn the camera away from the world to the sky marks an aestheticising vision which is the furthest remove from the status of the photograph as document."

Frieze magazine, Issue 20 Jan - Feb 1995 by Mark Durgen

American Night
A Shimmer of Possibility

"And thirdly, End of an Age and my American work: American Night and a shimmer of possibility, which all explore the language of photography – I mean that besides being about the United States, there’s also a questioning of the medium itself, and what it can do."

Paul Graham, Taken from The Knight's Move - in conversation with Paul Graham, 2010 by Aaron Schuman

Some of my favourite images

Troubled land 1984-1986: [1] [2] [3]

American Night 1998-2002: [4] [5] [6]

A Shimmer of Possibility 2004-2006: [7] [8]

Images taken from Graham's personal website & artblatt.

Further Reading

Seesaw Magazine, Interview: The Knight's Move - in conversation with Paul Graham, 2010 by Aaron Schuman

Bio from the John Simon Gugenheim foundation website.

Week 1. History of Photography