Essays & Art Theory
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Paul Graham — a shimmer of possibility
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a shimmer of possibility
Paul Graham’s a shimmer of possibility is regarded as one of the defining photography books of the 21st century. Awarded the Paris Photo-Aperture Prize for the most significant photobook published in the past 15 years, the original 12 volume set sold out in 10 weeks, and has been out of print since.
shimmer comprises 12 individual books, each volume a photographic short story of everyday life in today’s America. Modest sequences of images, such as a man smoking a cigarette while waiting for a bus in Las Vegas, or a woman collecting her mail from a mailbox in leafy New England, reflect the poetic ebb and flow of life. Now and then, the quiet narrative slides unexpectedly into the sublime: as a man mows a large green expanse, the sunlight breaks through clouds to illuminate a curtain of glowing raindrops. These filmic haikus avoid the forceful summation we usually find in photography, shunning a tidy packaging of the world into perfect images, to speak instead about the unexamined depths of quotidian life.
Whilst the 12 books are all an identical size, they vary in length from just a single photograph to 60 pages of images made at one street intersection. The radical form of this multi volume publication embraces the unique nature of Graham’s work, giving the flow of life precedence over conclusiveness, where nothing much happens, but nothing is foreclosed either, where everything shimmers with possibility.
24,2 x 31,8 cm, 12 books, 376p, ills colour, english
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