a shimmer of possibility. Photographs by Paul Graham. SteidlMack, Gottingen, 2007. 12 vols. Large quarto (13 1/2 x 10 3/4 in./24 x 32 cm). Limited edition of 1,000 sets. All hardcover with no dust jacket, as issued. Each bound in a different colored cloth. 360 pp. total. 160 color reproductions.
NOTE: To show the set to best effect, the image at used at right is a stock photo.
Slight bump to outer box; all books Fine.
The Present. Photographs by Paul Graham. Mack, 2012. 114 pp. Quarto (9.75 x 12 in./ ). First edition. SIGNED on title page and dated, NYC 2012'. Clothbound. No jacket as issued. Color reproductions. 13 gatefolds.
a shimmer of possibility was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the spring of 2009 in a show organized by Susan Kismaric, Curator, Department of Photography. As the Museum's publicity material described, "Each simple but structurally inventive series includes varying numbers of pictures, from one to more than ten, and provides a vivid glimpse into unheralded moments in the lives of individuals Graham encountered on his travels."
"I have been taking photographs for 30 years now," Graham said in a 2011 interview, "and it has steadily become less important to me that the photographs are about something in the most obvious way. I am interested in more elusive and nebulous subject matter. The photography I most respect pulls something out of the ether of nothingness… you can't sum up the results in a single line. In a way, 'a shimmer of possibility' is really about these nothing moments in life."
In a review of the MoMA show for the British publication 8-10 Magazine, photographer Chris Killip concluded, "The photographs in this exhibition unexpectedly reverberate back to what was good about Robert Frank. How Frank, some fifty years ago, lifted up an unedifying stone and found a way to look squarely at America. These Paul Graham photographs of now are hardly reassuring, but in this delivery have achieved a telling relevance, which needs to be seen."
"The Present is Paul Graham’s contribution to [the legacy of street photography]. 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.
Although there are flashes of surprise – a woman walks confidently down the street one moment, only to tumble to the ground a second later – for the most part there is little of the drama street photography is addicted to. People arrive and depart this quiet stage, with the smallest shift of time and attention revealing the thread between them. A suited young businessman crosses the road, only to be replaced by his homeless alternate; a woman in a pink t-shirt is engulfed with tears, but seconds later there is a content shopper in her place.
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." --the publisher