Between 2004 and 2006, Paul Graham undertook a project to document the quiet moments that make up everyday life in America. Formed out of a series of trips in which Graham sought to photograph and see America for himself, Graham's vignettes of quotidian existence point to the poetry in the constant flow of life.
Constantly documenting his encounters and photographing moments which captured his fascination during these itinerant trips, Graham built over the years contemplative stories of daily life. The result of these trips is a shimmer of possibility, first published in 2007 and selling out within 10 weeks, it has come to be regarded as one of the defining photography books of the 21st Century. Presented in twelve volumes, Graham's photographs wash over the reader as they catch a glimpse of what Graham encountered over the years.
The book's layout follows the ebbs and flows of Graham's narratives, at times longer and drawn out over several pages and at others just brief encounters between photographer and subject. Modest sequences of images, such as a man smoking a cigarette while waiting at a bus stop in Las Vegas or a man mowing his lawn as sunlight breaks through the rain clouds reflect the poetry of life's seemingly banal moments. Graham's photographs have a filmic quality to them, and as we flick through the pages of the books these sequences are brought to life. Rather than present a neat package of the world in perfect photographs, Graham's work speaks instead about the unexamined depths of quotidian life.
On the occasion of the photobook's 10th anniversary, MACK Books are re-publishing a limited edition of a shimmer of possibility in its original twelve volume format. Graham's photographs remain as powerful as ever, and perhaps even more poignant in the current climate of chaos that has engulfed America.