A shimmer of Possibility 2004-2006
“Perhaps instead of standing by the river bank scooping out water, it’s better to immerse yourself in the current, and watch how the river comes up, flows smoothly around your presence, and gently reforms the other side like you were never there.” Paul Graham
Inspired by Chekhov’s short stories, Paul Graham’s a shimmer of possibility comprises 12 individual books, each volume a photographic short story of everyday life in today’s America. Most of these books contain small sequences of images, such as a man smoking a cigarette while he waits for a bus in Las Vegas, or a walk down a street in Boston on an autumn afternoon. Often two, three or four sequences intertwine in a single book, like separate but related lives co-existing in suburban America. Sometimes the quiet narrative breaks unexpectedly into a sublime moment – while a couple carry their shopping home in Texas a small child dances with a plastic bag in a garden; as a man cuts the grass in Pittsburgh it begins to rain and the low sun breaks through to illuminate every raindrop. These filmic haikus avoid the forceful summation we usually find in photography, shunning any tidy packaging of the world into perfect images. Instead, life simply flows around and past us while we stand and stare, quietly astonished by it’s beauty and grace. Whilst the twelve books are all an identical size, they vary in length from just a single photograph, to 60 pages of images made at one street intersection. The radical form of this multi volume book embraces the unique nature of Graham’s work, giving the flow of life precedence over conclusiveness, where nothing much happens, but nothing is foreclosed either, where everything shimmers with possibility.