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Issue 2

Guest editor: Markus Schaden

Aperture Foundation

Spring 2012

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On The Present by Paul Graham


What is the present? This essential and ambiguous question immediately confronts the reader in Paul Graham’s new book. The established shooting device provides a first element of answer. Contrasting with the idea of a single image meant to embrace an entire scene, Graham works in diptychs and triptychs captured every few seconds on the streets of New York: a person enters the frame, leaves, and another comes in; a man stands on the sidewalk, waiting for a cab to go by before crossing the street. Seldom does an event occur: a woman walks, then tumbles. Graham thus proceeds – as any photographer would, actually – with a slicing of time, but in a claimed, explicit way. So we come to understand that according to him, this is where the present stands: within a range of perceptions in a given situation. As testified by his photographic choices: focus point and composition often vary slightly from one image to the next. Thus giving a representation of what human vision is when observing the environment: accommodating here, and there, turning the head slightly. A stream of points of view which once put together shapes our awareness of the present.  […]

The Photobook Review Spring 2012 Paul Graham The Present Mack Markus Schaden Aperture Böhmkobayashi Greger Ulf Nilson Rémi Coignet
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