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“Start working, make mistakes, keep going.”
Famous British photographer Paul Graham advises young people not to give up too early on their artistic dreams and ambitions. “Every time I start something new, it is junk, and I am embarrassed. But sooner or later, the world will whisper in your ear and say: Let me show you something far more interesting than your little idea. But you have to be prepared to listen.”
Paul Graham (born 1956) is a British artist who has worked solely in the photographic medium for 45 years. He was born in Stafford, UK, to parents in the Royal Air Force, and after various relocations, grew up in Harlow, Essex, before studying Microbiology at Bristol University. While there, he discovered art photography and, on graduating, decided to pursue that full time. Working in colour from the late 1970s, his work was critical in moving documentary practice forward from classic black and white photography. He made three bodies of work in the UK during the 1980s, firstly along with the A1- The Great North Road (1981/2), then on Mrs Thatcher’s unemployment crisis with Beyond Caring (1984) and lastly in Northern Ireland during the darker times of the mid-1980s with Troubled Land (1984-6). Since then, he has travelled and exhibited widely for four decades, works notably engaged with western Europe in New Europe, and Japan with Empty Heaven. His photography has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the inaugural show of Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, as well as a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2000 he moved to the USA, where he has completed three notable series of work, including a shimmer of possibility, which won the first Paris Photo book prize as the best photography book of the past 15 years. He lives in New York City with his partner and son.
Paul Graham was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his home in New York City in March 2022.
Camera: Matthew Heymann
Edited by: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2022
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.
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