The Present by Paul Graham | en
The Present is Paul Graham’s contribution to the legacy of street photographers such as Walker Evans, Harry Callahan, Robert Frank or Garry Winogrand. The images in this book come unbidden from the streets of New York, but are not quite what we might expect, for each moment is brought to us with its double – two images taken from the same location, separated only by the briefest fraction of time. We find ourselves in sibling worlds, where a businessman with an eye patch becomes, an instant later, a man with an exaggerated wink; a woman eating a banana walks towards us, and a small focus shift reveals the blind man right behind her.
The Present gives us an impression quite different to most street photography where life is frozen rigid. Here we glimpse the continuum: before/after, coming/going, either/or. A ‘present’ that is a fleeting and provisional alignment, with no singularity or definitiveness; a world of shifting awareness and alternate realities, where life twists and spirals in a fraction of a second to another moment, another world, another consciousness.
The Present is the third in Paul Graham’s trilogy of projects on America which began with American Night in 2003 and was followed in 2007 by a shimmer of possibility (winner of the Paris Photo Book Prize 2011 for the most significant photo book of the past 15 years). The Present takes Graham’s reputation as a master of the book form to new heights, employing multiple gatefolds to convey passages of time and the unfolding of urban life.
Hardback with embossed cover
114 pages, including 13 gatefolds
24.5 cm x 30.5 cm
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