“Photography lacks intentionality.” | Photographer Paul Graham | Louisiana Channel

“I always feel I have an artistic collaborator – and it is the world.”

Meet famous British photographer Paul Graham in this personal and in-depth interview about his life, career, and thoughts on photography.

“Photography lacks intentionality. The painter places every mark on the painting. The sculptor every ounce of the form. But photography? Did you really intend that? To embrace improvisation, to embrace that this is the wonder of photography, is a way of accepting the burden of life.”

Paul Graham is a contemporary British photographer living and working in New York City. Born in 1956 in Stafford, United Kingdom, he studied at Bristol University and began taking photographs during the 1970s. In 1981, Graham completed his first acclaimed work, A1: The Great North Road, a series of color photographs made along the A1, Great Britain’s longest numbered road connecting London and Edinburgh at both ends. His use of color film in the early 1980s, when British photography was dominated by the traditional black-and-white social documentary, had a revolutionizing effect on the genre. Soon a new school of photography emerged, with artists like Martin Parr, Richard Billingham, Simon Norfolk, and Nick Waplington making the switch to color.

Graham is known for his sequential color prints of people engaged in daily life. His 12-volume photobook A Shimmer of Possibility (2007) summarizes Graham’s interest in calling attention to overlooked activities or places. “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,” he has explained. The artist has been the subject of more than eighty solo exhibitions worldwide. Today, his works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum (all in New York City), the Tate Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum (both London), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Fotomuseum Winterthur, Musee de la Photographie (Charleroi), Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Copenhagen) among others.

Paul Graham was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his home in New York City in March 2022.

Camera: Matthew Heymann
Edited by: Signe Boe Pedersen
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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