Verdigris / Ambergris (Pre-order)

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MACK, 2024. First edition. Two hardback books housed in an embossed slipcase, 136 pp., color illustrated, 221 x 285 mm. Photographs by Paul Graham. Signed by the artist.

Available to preorder - this title is due to ship in late July

Verdigris / Ambergris completes a twelve-year suite of works by Paul Graham focused on life’s transience and our mortality. This pair of sibling books is centered on people scanning the infinite horizon as they look out over land (Verdigris) and sea (Ambergris). Interleaved with these contemplative portraits in the first volume are images of cherry blossoms and in the second images of the setting sun. These photographs are made respectively in a park overlooking post-industrial New Jersey, in which Graham has worked for the past seven years, and along the northern coast of Long Island, where there is a long tradition of watching the setting sun.

Graham takes these archetypal objects of natural beauty – and their observers – to form a ayered examination of the ways we see and experience the beauty of the world. While the portraits of horizon-watchers are captured with golden-hour clarity, the interleaved images in each volume have been corrupted through the process of their creation. The blossom images in Verdigris are captured on a digital camera set to an ultra-resolution mode that uses multiple micro-shifted exposures. But disturbed by the gentle motion of a breeze, the camera struggles to assemble a coherent representation. Meanwhile the saturated sunsets of Ambergris result from a camera that is uniquely able to collect colour information at every pixel site, rather than approximate colour from nearby pixels. Pushed beyond its limits, the images become stained with artefacts of the overwhelming intensity of information.

With this dazzling new series, Graham embraces the flaws of his tools to evoke the transience of life, its bountiful wonder, and the degradation and demise inexorably bound to beauty.

[Verdigris is the green patina of oxidised copper, as found on the Statue of Liberty. Ambergris is a rare and enigmatic product of whales, sought by beachcombers and highly valued in perfumery.]

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