‘Photography for and of itself – photographs taken from the world as it is – are misunderstood as a collection of random observations and lucky moments, or muddled up with photojournalism, or tarred with a semi-derogatory ‘documentary’ tag.’
So wrote Paul Graham in his searing essay from 2010, The Unreasonable Apple. Ruminating on how large fractions of the art world misunderstand the unique qualities of photography, he asserts that the latter’s legitimacy usually derives from artists only using the medium to illustrate ideas, installations or performances as a means of completing their work.
Graham, a previous winner of the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize and Hasselblad Prize, with some 80 solo exhibitions worldwide to his name, has championed his own brand of straight photography that transcends the banal to create compelling, existential images of quiet and unexpected beauty. His new book, Does Yellow Run Forever?, is more personal than the socio-politically resonant work of American Night, a shimmer of possibility and The Present, yet is nonetheless wrought with complex human issues – posing the question, what are the things we value the most?
Comprising three tiers of finely interwoven imagery – rainbows shot in Ireland, a set of photographs of his partner sleeping and a series of views of gold pawn shops – the work traverses Graham’s interior world while opening out to create a sense of shared experience, a participation in that ‘great dance with life’.
Outwardly simple yet inwardly complex, this is a gentle interrogation of love, wealth and the splendours of nature; hardly anything happens here, yet Graham’s concentration upon the ephemeral and the minutiae works magic. With its lavish production values, such as the velvet cover and gold finish, Does Yellow Run Forever? will no doubt be a highly coveted photobook. It is brimming with serious photography that presents, in the words of Graham, “nothing less than the measuring and folding of the cloth of time itself.”
For more information or to order a copy visit mackbooks.co.uk