Daily Picture Show

A Shimmer Of Possibility

"I know it seems crazy," says photographer Paul Graham, "but I'm asking you to trust me and enjoy this quiet journey. Just slow down and look at this ordinary moment of life. See how beautiful it is, see how life flows around us, how everything shimmers with possibility."

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Graham, born in the United Kingdom in 1956, began photographing at a young age. He has the training of a photojournalist, the eye of a fine artist and a fascination with everyday life. That's reflected in a shimmer of possibility, a series of 12 books based on Graham's travels across America. Each book ranges from a single image to multiple frames of a scene as it unfolds over time — of a man cutting grass, a woman eating fast food, a couple carrying groceries. A selection of the photographs is now on display at New York's Museum of Modern Art through May 18.

Today's gallery, in which many of the images look the same, may initially be difficult to understand. Generally, we look for the "great shot": a striking image and a perfect pose or scene. But Graham is interested in staying truthful to the moment, which is often uninteresting and simple, and almost always lasts more than one second. To him, in fact, the uninteresting is beautiful, too. His art refocuses on the modest beauty that we take for granted every day. In the museum's words, it "is a call for attention to the brief, indefinite intervals of life."
All images (c) 2009 Paul Graham, courtesy Museum of Modern Art.

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