"Paul GRAHAM, winner of the 2012 Hasselblad Award in Photography, is a vital figure in contemporary photography, working for over thirty years and continually challenging different genres of photographic practice. His work has been widely embraced, with exhibitions at the Tate and the MoMA, and published in more than 12 monographs.
The Hasselblad Award is considered photography's highest prize for lifetime achievement and the list of past winners is a roll call of photography's greatest masters.
In honour of the 2012 award, the Hasselblad Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden is showing an exhibition, together with this book 1981 & 2011, which unites GRAHAM’s first published work 'A1 - The Great North Road' (1981) and his latest 'The Present' (2011).
At the beginning of the 1980’s GRAHAM was among the first photographers to unite contemporary colour practice with the classic ‘social documentary’ genre. In 1981/2 he completed 'A1 – The Great North Road', a series of colour photographs from the length of the British A1 road, which forged a dramatic challenge to the black and white tradition that dominated British photography to that point.
This work, along with his other photographs of the 1980’s, were pivotal in reinvigorating and transforming photographic practice in the UK and abroad.
In 2011 GRAHAM released 'The Present', which embraces street photography, a genre unique to photography where the artist works with the ceaseless flow of life. These images break with the traditional approach of locking the world into frozen instants and instead brings us each scene together with its double, the briefest fraction of time apart, so that we glimpse the continuum, the before/after and coming/ going of life's dazzling dance.
Designed by Paul GRAHAM and MACK, printed in colour throughout, '1981 & 2011' aligns these two bodies of Graham's work across the 3 decades spanning his career. With David Campany's incisive essay, we can piece together and explore the concerns that link and bind an artist over the years making this a salient book on the passage of creativity in the observable world." (publisher's note, © Mack Books, 2012)
The Foundation’s citation regarding the decision to award the 2012 prize to Paul GRAHAM is as follows:
"Paul GRAHAM is one of the most brilliant photo-graphers of his generation. During the course of his nearly 40-year career, he has presented an extremely focused body of work, at once perfectly coherent and never monotonous. In images both sensitive and subtly political, he makes tangible the insignificant traces of ″the spirit of the times″ we do not normally see. With his keen awareness of the photographic medium, he has constantly developed innovative forms of working with all aspects of photography. This makes him a profound force for renewal of the deep photographic tradition of engagement with the world. This year’s award committee, which submitted its proposal to the Foundation’s board of directors, consisted of:
- Clément Chéroux (chair), Photography Historian, Curator Department of Photograpy, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France,
- Ekaterina Degot, Art Historian, Art Critic and Curator, Moscow, Russia
- Ute Eskildsen, Professor, Head of the Department of Photography and Vice-Director, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany.
- Gao Shiming, Curator, School of Intermedia Art, China Art Academy, Hangzhou, PR China,
- Roberta Valtorta, Scientific Director, Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Milan, Italy."
In Anlehnung an die Verleihung des Hasselblad Award 2012 ist dieser Band von Paul GRAHAM entstanden, der nun den Bogen von seiner ersten Publikation, 'A1- The Great North Road' (1981) zu seiner letzten Arbeit, 'The Present' (2011) spannt.
"Zwischen der die britische Fotografie der letzten 30 Jahre beeinflussenden Arbeit, die beispielhaft für den Wechsel von der S/W- zur Farbfotografie steht und der Straßenfotografie, die sich dem Thema (Lebens-)Zeit widmet liegen Welten.
Es ist großartig, dass der Betrachter auf diese Weise wieder Zugang zur ersten Arbeit erhält, denn das Buch 'A1' ist nur noch ganz selten zu bekommen und zählt zu den teuersten Fotobüchern auf dem Fotobuchmarkt." (© Richard G. Sporleder)