I’ve never stopped to look at Paul Grahams work before but as i read through his book ‘Paul Graham photographs 1981-2006’ I was pleasantly surprised. Starting with his project ‘A1 -the great north road’ Graham documents the people and places that occupy the backbone road of England. His approach to it comments on class and isolation, in a mundane way which echos the economical issues of the 80’s. His work forms almost a community out of a road which stretches hundreds of miles, through different towns, cities and cultures. His next series Beyond Caring is my preferred, the fact that he shot from the hip of mostly people sitting down makes me feel as if i am one of them, the candid shots create an imperfection as does the ability to see the grime on the floor. The benches and waiting chairs blocking the view creates the sense of waiting, again putting you in the subjects shoes.
Television Portraits is more of his work which is intriguing. Graham documents people across the wold watching TV in their homes. They are comfortable, all different genders, ages, races and light by an artificial light, but all have one thing in common, they look hypnotised.
300 words for uni tomorrow…
Paul Grahams work seems at first glance to vary so much in style that it doesn’t relate, but as you read deeper into his outlook on life you can see his aim. When photographing people he seems to take a step back and watch, he obviously tries not to disturb their natural behaviour, but instead embrace it and comment on an often mundane, and mind numbed culture. His work in ‘End of an era’ shows Young Adults in clubs, all with this fixed distant drug influenced gaze which also occurs in his collection ‘Television Portraits’. This idea flows through into some of his landscape works, ‘a shimmer of possibility’, a project where 12 picture books, influenced by Chekov’s short stories, depict suburban Americans sitting watching and waiting. There individuals stories intertwine suggesting repetitiveness and representation of the mass. Paul Graham has got a very calm and disjointed out look on life, but he expresses his view in such a way that every day things and moments we would pass by, become eternally captured.