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MoMA

EXHIBITIONS

a shimmer of possibility. Photographs by Paul Graham

February 4–May 18, 2009

The Robert and Joyce Menschel Photography Gallery, third floor

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In August of 2004 Paul Graham (British, b. 1956), who had moved from London to New York in 2002, set out on the first of many trips around the United States to see and photograph the country for himself. This exhibition has been selected from the resulting series of photographic works, which Graham published in twelve volumes as a shimmer of possibility (steidlMACK, 2007). Each simple but structurally inventive series includes varying numbers of pictures, from one to more than ten, and provides a vivid glimpse into unheralded moments in the lives of individuals Graham encountered on his travels. A series showing a woman eating a take-out meal or a man waiting at a bus stop transcends its nominal subjects and describes aspects of life that, while ordinary, are imbued by the photographer with affection and curiosity. a shimmer of possibility is a call for attention to the brief, indefinite intervals of life. As Graham has said, "Perhaps instead of standing at the river's edge scooping out water, it's better to be in the current itself, to watch how the river comes up to you, flows smoothly around your presence, and reforms on the other side like you were never there."

Organized by Susan Kismaric, Curator, Department of Photography.
Paul Graham. <I>New Orleans (Woman Eating)</I>. 2004. One of six pigmented inkjet prints, 24 x 32" (61 x 81.3 cm). Acquired through the generosity of the Photography Council Fund and The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art. © 2009 Paul Graham

Paul Graham. New Orleans (Woman Eating). 2004. One of six pigmented inkjet prints, 24 x 32" (61 x 81.3 cm). Acquired through the generosity of the Photography Council Fund and The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art. © 2009 Paul Graham