GRAHAM, Paul. A1, Beyond Caring, and Troubled Land. 1983; 1986; 1987 ASSOCIATION COPIES

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A1, Beyond Caring, and Troubled Land.

A1 The Great North Road. Foreword by Rupert Martin.
Bristol: Grey Editions, 1983.

Oblong 4to (210 × 280 mm), pp.[96]. 40 colour photographs. Photo-illustrated wrappers; spine lightly sunned, light reading crease, toning to wrappers, light rubbing and handling marks, light creasing to one tip. Peter Fraser’s ownership signature dated in the year of publication to verso of front wrapper. A very good copy.

First edition, Peter Fraser’s copy of Graham’s self-published first book. Between 1981 and 1982 he took photographs at various points along the A1. The sequence begins with a photograph taken outside the Bank of England and ends with one of a garage in Edinburgh which still displays the signs of British car manufacturers Singer and Humber, both of which ceased production in the 1970s. Shooting in colour on large format cameras, Graham photographs the road itself, the surrounding areas, cafes, service stations and people.

In 1984, excited by the vitality he had experienced in Bristol earlier that year, Fraser decided to move there permanently. He quickly established himself within a small collective called Photographers Over The Rainbow, so named because they shared darkrooms and studio space above the Rainbow Café in Waterloo Street. Paul Graham, who was one of the senior members of the collective was about to move to London so Fraser took over Graham’s space, it was at this time that Fraser also became close to Jem Southam, a founder member of the collective.

Beyond Caring.
Bristol: Grey Editions, 1986.

Oblong 4to (236 × 298 mm), pp.[2] blank, 78. 32 colour photographs. Photo-illustrated wrappers; light rubbing and handling marks, light wear to edges and spine-ends, head of spine cocking. Peter Fraser’s ownership signature dated in the year of publication to first page. A very good copy.

First edition, Peter Fraser’s copy. This enquiry into Britain’s social welfare system began when Graham was asked to photograph his personal view of Britain in 1984 for a group exhibition at The Photographer’s Gallery, London. Over the next two years he photographed across Britain in the waiting rooms of Department of Health and Social Security offices. This was a time of high unemployment under a Conservative government determined to curb what it saw as the destructive excess of the welfare state. Rather than highlighting the plight of the unemployed individual, Graham intended to show the condition of this area of the welfare state, and the suffering caused by the bureaucratic attitudes which [lie] behind its current collapse (Brittain 133).

Brittain, D., Creative Camera: Thirty Years of Writing; The Photobook: A History vol.II p.300

Troubled Land / The Social Landscape of Northern Ireland. Texts by Declan McGonacle / Gerry Badger.
London [and Manchester]: Grey Editions with Cornerhouse Publications, 1987.

Oblong 4to (224 × 298 mm), pp.(80). 32 colour photographs. Photo-illustrated wrappers; light handling marks. Inscribed by Graham in black ink to first page. Fine.

First edition, inscribed:’For Peter / Paul Graham 1988’. In Troubled Land Graham focuses on subtle details and signs within the landscape such as Unionist or Republican colours on kerbstones, posters and graffiti that hint at the wider political division within Northern Ireland. Gerry Badger writes in his afterword that as a photographer of the social landscape Graham ‘steps back from the action, rather than stepping forward, to reveal what is above, below and alongside of it, integrating events into their surroundings.’ This is a marked contrast to the traditional media coverage of a conflict such as this.


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