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See This Now: Paul Graham's Somber Streetscapes

The peripatetic photographer's trove is now on view at Pier 24.


'The Whiteness of the Whale'
Pier 24 Photography 
August 3, 2015, through February 29, 2016

Brace yourselves, photography nerds—Pier 24 Photography is about to do something extraordinary: It’s dedicating all 28,000 square feet of its magnificent waterfront space to a single artist, British photographer Paul Graham. The Whiteness of the Whale, a collection of Graham’s work that delves into the American identity, is big enough to contain all 160 photos in his award-winning a shimmer of possibility—and that’s only one of the three projects on display.

Graham, who spent the last 30 years traveling from New York to Detroit to Atlanta to Minnesota and beyond, captured the U.S. socioeconomic and racial divide with overexposed streetscapes for American Night; the wonder in the “most nondescript suburban situations” (Graham’s words) for the aforementioned shimmer; and the frenetic energy of city life in The Present. Each penetrates a different aspect of American culture, and together they tell broad stories and offer quiet insights into life in America—so carve out a few hours for heavy contemplation.

Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco

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