maandag 21 februari 2011

Paul Graham Beyond Caring Bart Sorgedrager's Choice of Company Photobooks Photography

Between 1984-85, Paul Graham put together Beyond Caring, a series of photographs of English dole offices, whose angry depiction of the grim reality of unemployment in the mid-1980s pulled no punches:

These photographs are all the more remarkable for the fact that they were taken undercover: such was the difficulty in doing this without being discovered he wasn’t even able to look through the viewfinder for a number of the images and had to compose instinctively, with his camera buried inside his coat.
The book’s almost impossible to get hold of: my local library had its copy nicked, the British Library have struggled to source one, and the cheapest second hand copy listed on Amazon is £375. If by some minor miracle you know of a copy that’s at a loose end please get in touch.
In certain respects the world of Beyond Caring is a far cry from that of the modern job centre. Savvy interior designers have stepped in and replaced the chipped paint, graffiti and fag-burned carpets with a glossy IKEA aesthetic that’s more Hollyoaks than Boys From The Blackstuff. You tell me what this says about the benefits system, the people who run the country, or the state of the nation, because I don’t know.
The Paul Graham Archive is the online resource for his work...

Books on Books #9
Paul Graham: Beyond Caring
Essays by David Chandler, Jeffrey Ladd
Hardcover w/ Dustjacket
104 pp, 9.5 x 7 in.
50 Color illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-935004-16-5

Paul Graham's Beyond Caring published in 1986 is now considered one of the key works from Britain's wave of "New Color" photography that was gaining momentum in the 1980s. While commissioned to present his view of "Britain in 1984," Graham turned his attention towards the waiting rooms, queues and poor conditions of overburdened Social Security and Unemployment offices across the United Kingdom. Photographing surreptitiously, his camera is both witness and protagonist within a bureaucratic system that speaks to the humiliation and indignity aimed towards the most vulnerable end of society. Books on Books #9 presents every page spread of Graham's controversial book along with a contemporary essay by writer and curator David Chandler.

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