Other Books by Paul Graham

‘A1: The Great North Road’ was Paul Graham’s first monograph (self-published in 1983) but was by no means his last. The following 4 years saw two more books published in almost Identical design under Grey Editions. In 1990 Graham took another look at Northern Ireland in ‘In Umbra Res’ before turning his gaze on ‘New Europe’, Japan, and most recently America in ‘American Night’ and ‘A Shimmer of Possibility’.

A full list of Graham’s monographs can be found below:

A1 The Great North Road, 1983
Paul Graham

A1: The Great North Road

Images Online:
Here, in Graham’s first publication, he documents both the physical landscape and people that inhabit the roadside service stations, rest-stops and motels of the Great North Road in order to ‘weave a picture of England in the 1980’s’.

Beyond Caring, 1986
Paul Graham

Beyond Caring

Images online:
‘Beyond Caring’ chronicles the state of employment in 80’s Britain through images made in the waiting rooms, corridors and cubicles of the department of social security and department of employment.


Trouble Land, The social landscape of Northern Ireland, 1987
Paul Graham

Troubled Land

Images Online:
Troubled Land was Graham’s last book produced in the 80’s and followed the style of the two previous publications via ‘Grey Editions’. This time examining the subtle relationship between the landscape of Northern Ireland and the ‘troubles of its society’.


In Umbra Res, 1990
Paul Graham

In Umbra Res

I have yet to see this book but there is some good information online at ‘Design for Life’ and also a video of the book from American Suburb X.

New Europe, 1993
Paul Graham

New Europe

Images Online:
‘New Europe seeks to dig beneath the utopian dream of a united continent arising to face the 21st century. Paul Graham’s photographs reflect on the inescapable shadow of history that falls over each nation’s conscience, from the dictatorships of Franco and Hitler, to the Holocaust and the Irish conflict.’ (From back cover of ‘New Europe’)

Empty Heaven, 1995
Paul Graham

Empty Heaven

Images Online:
Another book I havn’t seen but again there are good resources online. Check out two reviews/reflections by TJ Proechel or  ‘Some Pictures, Some News‘.


Paul Graham Contemporary Artists monograph, Phaidon Press, 1996
Paul Graham, Phaidon

Paul Graham

This book features a collection of Graham’s images, along with essays and an interview to provide a solid overview of his work up to 1996. The extensive interview with Gillian Wearing, is alone worth the read and to find a conversation with the great Lewis Baltz at the end of the book is a great treat.


End of an Age, 1998
Paul Graham

End of an Age

Images Online:
From the publisher: From the publisher: “End of an Age is a meditation on the transition from adolescence to adulthood at the end of the postwar order. Ultra-sharp direct flash images alternate with blurred, available-light photographs, a long, inquiring, and elegiac look at young white adults facing an uncertain future after the end of white, Western mono-culture.”

Paintings, 2000
Paul Graham

– Woops, I missed this one form the original list but there is a post on it here along with spreads from the book, with thanks to Tom Claxton.


American Night, 2003
Paul Graham

American Night

Images Online:
An examination or at least a mediation on the great divides in America. A combination of super high key images depicting subjects walking and carrying bags, and slick, saturated color images of American dream houses. It’s certainly worth a look but I got much more from an exhibition of this work than I do from the book.


A Shimmer of Possibility, 2009 (12 books in a set)
Paul Graham

A Shimmer of Possibility

Images Online:
I really have no idea how to describe these books, or what they are even about. I guess they are little snapshots of life (and lives), they are charming and fun poems or narratives which I’m sure those more literate could base thesis’ on, but for me the enjoyment is in coming to these books with no preconceived notions of greatness or enlightenment and simply watching moments unfold.

The Present, 2012
Paul Graham

The Present

I know very little of this book as it has only just launched but there is a detailed review over on the Photo-Eye blog.

– Matt



Paul Graham: Some Food for Thought #1

Paul Graham is by no means an obscure artist and so there are a bunch of places online to find out more about him, his work and his publications, I am just going to highlight a few.

For starters, Graham’s website is great – featuring a good selection of images from each of his projects:

There is also an interview with Richard Woodman on the site here, it’s well worth a read but might not tell those familiar with Graham, much more information.

I love Lost in Publications, if you only head to one more page from this ‘Food for Thought’ it should most definitely be to this page, featuring ALL Graham’s various publications.

Paul Graham on 'Lost in Publications'

A much more detailed interview with Paul Graham, conducted by Aaron Schumann can be found on seesaw magazine’s website.
“That type of photography had its time, and those types of social concern are still relevant, but we’ve just got to find a fresh language to express ourselves. Today, we don’t write books as we did in 1952; authors now explore the structure of a novel and what writing now means, as well as their subject matter” (PG)

Here, Peter MacGill of Pace MacGill Gallery discusses the work of photographer Paul Graham (Focusing on ‘A Shimmer of Possibility).

Alternatively, Graham himself talks us through one of the narratives from ‘A Shimmer of Possibility’

And for those who didn’t get to see the retrospective (or mid career survey as Peter MacGill would have me say) of Graham’s work as it toured Europe, here are some reviews of his output 1981-2006:

Alastaire Sooke of The Telegraph
“The secret behind their success is that they fuse an essentially American idea with a drizzly British sensibility”

Wayne Ford of Wayne Ford!
“Graham’s work remains faithful to its documentary origins – a commitment to life as it unfolds before the photographers lens”

Jonathan Dodds of The Illiterate Knife Rack
“…the photographs strike at the feelings and rage being experienced and expressed by a whole new generation of working class people in this country.”

Gerry Badger writing for the BJP
“He never repeats himself, never stands still and, while he has certain concerns revolving broadly around the nature of the photographic document (although he rightly hates the “D” word, as he calls it), treats each new project as a beginning, approaching the medium each time from first principles”

Liz Joney of The Guardian (Review of catalogue)
“”Without the energy to interrogate yourself, you’re dead,” Graham once said, and one of his strengths as an artist is his mutability. He is constantly testing what photography is capable of.

– Matt


Summary: Stephen Shore’s ‘Uncommon Places’

An awesome month on the Photo Book Club looking at Stephen Shore’s masterpiece, a big thanks to all who contributed to the discussion with a special shout to Kurt Easterwood for sharing a fantastic piece of extended writing on one of Shore’s images.

Through March we will be looking at Sally Mann’s ‘Immediate Family’, so as always, if you would like to share your thoughts, get in touch.

– Matt

You can check out all 16 posts from this month below:

Still haven’t seen the book?


An Interview with Chris and Jack

In preparation for this month looking at Shore’s ‘Uncommon Places’, I revisited the 2009 Steidl publication ‘New Topographics‘ (a great representation of the 1975 exhibition, or as much as I can imagine without having been there). Just after the director’s preface is a great little interview with two viewers at the exhibition; A man (Jack) and his wife or girlfriend (Chris).

Jack’s comments sort of some up my own feelings on the work featured in the exhibition, and in particular of Shore’s images, it’s also a lovely little interview with great characters itself and so I hope you enjoy it here:

– Matt

CHRIS: I just don’t like this at all; [I prefer] people, pictures, something that tells a story. Route 66, big deal, it doesn’t mean anything.

INTERVIEWER: Do you think the photographer had any intent?

CHRIS: He must have, for a layout like this. He couldn’t have been doing this for his enjoyment, because they are very dull pictures in my opinion. Jack, what do you think?

JACK: They mean something to me because I’ve never seen them before. I think he’s trying to get at…I’m still working on it…

INTERVIEWER: Do you think these pictures really capture the feeling of the places?

JACK: They really do, very much so. At first they’re really stark nothing, but then you really look at it and it’s just about the way things are. This is interesting, it really is.

CHRIS: Look at this picture. I just…why? What is he trying to show?

JACK: You said there are no people here, but there are people, all over the place. Everywhere you look there’s people.

CHRIS: Okay, you look at this you can imagine somebody checking out of the hotel, but it’s gone, there’s nothing for you to identify with except, what, dirty sheets? I don’t like it. I’m sorry! I don’t care for that kind of…Are you a photography student? What kind do you prefer?

INTERVIEWER: Do you think there’s any difference between the [photographers] in the show and what they were doing? Do you like anyone better than the others?

CHRIS: I really can’t comment because we’ve only been in just this one area [Shore, Schott], looking at just these, so I can’t say as to what I prefer.

JACK: I found my truck. I can’t believe it, it’s my truck, right there.

INTERVIEWER: Robert Adams, got your truck.

JACK: Just interesting. You know I think there’s a lot of people, I really do, there’s people, it’s a way of life. It’s how it is. It’s interesting.

CHRIS: I don’t like them. They’re dull and flat. There’s no people, no involvement, nothing. Why do you like them?

JACK: Because I’ve been there. This is what people have done. [The pictures are saying] ‘This is it, kid—take it for its beauty and its ugliness.’

CHRIS: I don’t like to think that there are ugly streets in America…but when it’s shown to you, without beautification, maybe it tells you how much more we need here. What do you think, Jack?

JACK: Try not to, it hurts.

CHRIS: You’re the one who enjoyed them.

JACK: I enjoy everything.

Havn’t seen ‘Uncommon Places’ yet? Have a look…


Photo Book Club meet-up with guest Ricardo Cases

The Photo Book Club Barcelona meets once again tomorrow night. Unfortunately (but in a great way) all the places have already been taken, and there is currently a waiting list for these meetings!

Ricardo Cases, whose ‘Paloma al Aire‘ was featured on many ‘Best of’ lists, including coming 3rd on Marc Feustel’s king of lists, will be the guest at the event, introducing Richard Billingham’s ‘Ray’s a Laugh’.

Ricardo Cases 'Paloma al Aire'

Those who are lucky enough to go to the event: I would love to hear a review of the evening, from a participants point of view ( )

– Matt


Ken Schles: Four Books

A few months ago Ken Schles spoke at the SPE Northeast Conference in Syracuse, if ever there was a dream-team conference, this was it for me! Ken’s talk was posted online yesterday and I recommend anyone with even a passing interest in photobooks must take the time to view it.

Ken takes us through all four of his monographs, looking both at content and theme as well as the publication challenges and triumphs he experienced. What most interested me is just how much Ken’s books seem ultimately to form chapters in a much larger body of work, his interests and more importantly questions are never repeated, but we are reminded of them constantly.

Ken is proof that Tod Papageorge knew what he was talking about:

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t reading enough” – Tod Papageorge

This talk is best enjoyed with a chilled beverage and note taking device

– Matt


Photobook meet-up #4; Barcelona, Spain

The ‘Photo Book Club Barcelona’ community is continuing to grow and just this week, held it’s second photobook meet-up in the city. This time attendees were discussing the design aspects of their favorite books as well as being joined by Carlos Albalá, co-editor of the spanish independent publishing house BSide Books who introduced Daniel Blaufuks’ Terezin photobook.

A few images from the event can be seen below, and if you are in town and would like to meet up with this growing group of photobook fans, head on over to their Facebook page to get all the details.

– Matt


Photo Book Club Zurich and a Homage to the Book

Martin Leggett got in touch the other day, interested in setting up a meet-up in Zurich Switzerland some time in the New Year. Those who are interested in attending, or helping Martin out with the evening can get in touch with him here, or leave a message in the comments section below.

And a little homage to the book I came across today from Richard Kostelanetz:

“The attractions of the book as a communications medium are that individual objects can be relatively cheaply made and distribute, that it is customarily portable and easily stored, that its contents are conveniently accessible, that it can be experienced by oneself at one’s own speed without a playback machine (unlike theatre, video, audio or movies), and that it is more spatially economical (measured by extrinsic experience over intrinsic volume) than other non electronic media. A book allows it’s reader random access, in contrast to audiotape and videotape, whose programmed sequences permit only linear access; with a book you can go from one page to another, both forwards and backwards, as quickly as you can go from one page to the next.”

– Richard Kostelanetz


A chat with Bryan and Blake on bytes and books

An interesting conversation between Blake Andrews and Bryan Formhals over on the ‘B’ blog here. They discuss the role of online culture in photography and question the time and attention we give to images online as apposed to in books (amongst other things).


Writing and Books

David Hempenstall wrote the following piece in response to Sean Davey’s writing on Araki’s ‘Sentimental Journey, Winter Journey’ . It reminds me of a quote by Dick Higgins:

“Most of our criticism in art is based on a work with separable meaning, content and style – “this is what it says” and “here is how it says what it says”. But the language of normal criticism is not geared towards the discussion of an experience, which is the main focus of artist’s books.”

– Artists’ Books: A Critical Anthology and Sourcebook 1985

David Hempenstall

Sean Davey has sat down at his typewriter and opened a vein to chuck some words at Araki-san’s red book. Davey worked in conjunction with the Photo Book Club to put on a fantastic Aussie event a while back (and another coming soon!), and has now furthered the conversation (and injected more enthusiasm) into the undertaking.

It’s a good read. Plenty in there to make you want to run to the shelf (or your favourite book buying website) to grab a copy and sit quietly thumbing through it (using whatever order your cultural heritage dictates or desires). Plenty in there to make you pause at certain pictures, plenty in there to make you take a step back and consider groups of pictures and the book as a whole, plenty in there to get your hackles up when you don’t agree or find an assertion not to your (own) liking – and this all together may be the strength; that he hasn’t reduced it to ‘sad story photobook’ in an attempt to make the writing a short cut to actually sitting with the book itself.

I personally find writing to be incredibly difficult and am always grateful when there are pieces out there that remain accessible, that leave the work discussed intact and at (somehow) arms length – it hands over the gift of directions drawn with a stick in the carpark dirt without the crippling ‘fact’ of GPS and ‘streetview’… you point yourself down the road and make your own discoveries, your own landmarks, your own experience of each bend and curve.

Hats off to those who wield the pen!