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The beautiful simplicity of Paul Graham's Television Portraits is entrancing: We look at people looking.
Begun in the late 1980s and made sporadically through the 90s, these images are from a time before the internet, before cell phones, when the television was the center of home life. Ranging from USA through the UK to Japan, Graham photographed his friends and family lost to the glowing screen, entranced by whatever they were watching. A powerfully simple message is embedded in this: the person next to you is more interesting than anything the glowing screen can show.
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Television Portraits, Danny, Bristol, 1989
Television Portraits, Hiromi, Tokyo, 1991
Television Portraits, Yuko, Tokyo, 1993
Television Portraits, Hal, London, 1992
Television Portraits, Yuki, London, 1994
Paul Graham is a British photographer living and working in New York City.
In 1981, Graham completed his first acclaimed work, A1: The Great North Road, a series of color photographs made along A1, Great Britain’s longest numbered road. His use of color film in the early 1980s, at a time when British photography was dominated by 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.
In 2011, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired the complete set of prints from The Great North Road, the original set Graham had used to print his first book in 1983. Over the past three decades, Graham has travelled widely, producing twelve distinct bodies of work. He has been the subject of more than eighty solo exhibitions worldwide.
Press + Articles
Paul Graham’s photographs reveal people transfixed by television
Financial Times (article)