Paul Graham, car, shop, person, car park,

A Shimmer of Possibility

In Issue 9 of Photoworks magazine, art critic Martin Herbert looked at Paul Graham's project a Shimmer of Possibility.

Outside the hotel, under a blurry late-afternoon sun in a sky that threatens and then releases showers, an African-American man mows grassy grounds. Inside the supermarket, basic items sit on half-filled shelves: cans of corn and beef stew, white rice, soap. In the bright parking lot lined with young oaks, a chocolate-coloured GMC Safari people-carrier waits alone. Such are the particularities between which Paul Graham shuttles us in one of a dozen photographic sequences – all shot in the USA, this one in Pittsburgh in 2004 – that comprise his latest body of work, a shimmer of possibility. Particularly in book form (aside from being exhibited, it’s being published as a set of twelve individual volumes), the work has a cinematic propulsion: one shot following another, inferring connections. Here, Graham alternates between lawnmower man and supermarket, lingers temporarily on the menial worker trudging back and forth, and caps the sequence with the car. It’s not hard to assume here a fragmentary consideration of America’s haves and have-nots (measured through a juxtaposition of vehicles), social diminution along racial lines, the cost of fuels.

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