Street | Photographer Research | Paul Graham

Paul Graham’s photographs touch upon the social fracture of America – the great divide – between included and excluded, black and white, have and have-not. It is a simple topic, shunned these days or dealt with through often clichéd photo-journalism. American Night embraces this neglected territory in a series of shocking images which lodge firmly in our consciousness as they slip between the categories of art and document. The majority of the images are high key photographs which give the feeling of stepping out of a sheltered place into the sunlight, temporarily blinding the viewer with a whiteness that is overwhelming and endless. Drained of color, shadow and form, they resonate with the lives of those they portray walking, carrying, waiting and wandering in a whiteness that is bleached and endless, until the sequence snaps momentarily – either to a vibrant full color image of a new house, a freshly minted ‘dream home’, with blue sky, green grass, and a verdant palette that is perfect beyond attainment – or to an intensely dark street portrait, before returning to the endless blinding whiteness of everyday life.” (https://steidl.de/Books/American-Night-0104485455.html)

I was drawn to these particular images because I like how Graham has singled out the individual subjects and photographed them from a distance preventing the viewer from seeing close up details of the individual and instead encouraging them to take in the surroundings of the subject.


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