Paul Graham - The Present

May 4, 2018

Taken entirely in the busy streets of Manhatten "The Present" is a series that comments on the speed and transience of everyday life. Through 16 diptychs and 2 trip tychs Graham puts images taken within seconds of each other, the differences between the moments are often subtly witty and the reader is left trying to figure out how the images relate, characters often mimicking each others actions.

Here, as a man wearing an eye patch leaves the scene, he is replaced by a man winking with the same eye.

 

The shifting of focus between scenes leads the reader to try and identify the previous character’s position in the new scene. Above two women of striking resemblance walk in away from each other. The focus brings attention to the women’s outfits, both of which share the same colour palette. In this scene Graham highlights a moment of strange reiteration in the everyday.

 

 

 

The razor thin depth of field and consistently striking natural light make the images aesthetically enjoyable, while the books interesting layouts and multiple gatefolds demand an interactive reader experience. Here Graham cleverly captures the skyline of truck advertisement , as it is replaced by the actually skyline of the city behind.

 

Throughout the book it is images like the one above that I find most powerful. Graham captures people somewhat eluding the speed everyday, frozen in moments of contemplation as the speed of the city continues. Here Graham contradicts previous images in which Graham accentuates the relentless and repetitive nature of everyday life, by showing characters breaking the mould like this the book conveys a sense of hope and spirituality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall I think "The Present" is an interesting new take on the area of street photography. By photographing the everyday in a momentary, everyday style, the fleeting moment, a key characteristic in street photography, is communicated effectively

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© 2019 by Jack Pickerill

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