Paul Graham: Films

Paul Graham
Paul Graham
Fuji Fujicolor Super HR400, 400asa, Beyond Caring, 1984

Paul Graham’s latest book Films is a homage to the medium of film.

What appear at first to be series of abstract fields of dots, blobs or color forms, are in fact extreme close ups of photographic images, magnified to a point where they reveal the grain and structure of the film itself.

The publication is the direct result of Graham examining his past 30 years of work while preparing for his mid career survey exhibition and retrospective book.

Graham is acknowledged as one of the very first British documentary photographers to work in color. An accomplished C-type printer, Graham has always printed his own images, and early in his career, he made his living as a printer for others. Now working in the digital environment—Graham has shot exclusively digitally for five years—he remains very hands-on, working on scans, digital corrections, test prints, and finals.  It was through this preparation for his retrospective that Graham noticed the different film structures and conceived the idea for the book, a poetic riff on his past life with film.

Films continues two central themes that permeate all of Graham’s work: the book as a integral component of his process, and an interest in the nature of photography itself.

Where previous bodies of work (End of an Age, American Night, and Shimmer of Possibility) relate to the basics of photography: focus, (blurred images) aperture (blown out and dark images) and shutter (sequenced imagery) respectively, Films concentrates on the scientific and physical aspects of the medium of film itself.

The 12-volume compendium format for Shimmer of Possibility was designed as a response to the individual stories which made up the whole. With Films, the design solution is manifest in the printing— the pages are coated with a hi-gloss UV varnish to emulate the plastic quality of film emulsion.

An alternative survey and companion piece to the more conventional retrospective book, Films is an abstract chronology of Graham’s archive. A Colophon at the end of the book identifies the origin and film stock for each spread. Prints from the book recently on show at Anthony Reynolds Gallery corresponded to the print sizes of the original editions from which the abstract close up film images are sourced.

Films is a creative and conceptual look back at Graham’s work to date. It also closes a chapter of Graham’s working process and with his relationship to the physical material of photography itself.  His latest photographs — which will be published as the third installment in his continuing series of work on America — are being photographed digitally.

Films is published by Mack.

Paul Graham Photographs 1981-2006 is on exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London until June 19, 2011.

Related Topics: , , , ,

Latest Posts

The henna is a pre-nuptial cerimony celebrated in Moroccan or Yemenite families where the soon-to-be bride is dressed-up as a Queen with flowers and jewels and she is inivited to dance with her girl friends to say good-bye to celibacy and life as a single young girl. During the dance cerimony, the Kallah, the bride-to-be's hands and feet are painted with henne`, the red pouder from India. This welcomes fertility and happinesses within the marriage. Meah Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel. July 2012.

Finding Faith and Beauty in the Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women

For four years, Italian photographer Federica Valabrega has photographed the everyday lives of Orthodox Jewish women around the world

Read More
A suspected migrant runs back to Miguel Aleman, Mexico after being pursued by agents near Roma, Texas. Oct. 8, 2014.

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 26, 2014

Stephen Waddell

Off the Radar: Jeff Wall Puts the Spotlight on Stephen Waddell

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,365 other followers