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Paul Graham, ASX Interview

This is an interesting ASX interview – once I stopped laughing at the absurdly verbose opening question of the interviewer, which was so long it needed to be read from a script and left Graham switching off around three seconds in.

Stand-out points for me were:

  • Paul refusing to be pinned to any single interpretation of his work and simplification of human perception
  • An observation that we naturally see in shallow focus (which one can observe is true) and that deep depth of field is a trick of the camera lens. So Graham suggests that medium format street photography, full of detail, is interesting as it provides an opportunity to observe details we do not normally see. The observation also reminds me that if we want an audience to focus on a specific aspect of a photo we’d better keep a shallow depth of field (or other technique) or their natural senses are quickly overwhelmed by detail.
  • Graham’s straight forward use of language and explanation vs the interviewer’s ‘art-speak’ and poor questioning technique. Refreshing yet desperately disappointing that people believe that art-speak is any way to communicate. Including some reference to cinematic images that was particularly poorly articulated.
  • Graham talks about his use of space in exhibitions and how he likes to position the works depending on their original concept – for example a sequence in horizontal order. A place at disparate moments in time in vertical order.

Overall, a useful insight into Graham’s thinking best viewed at 1.5x speed to avoid distraction or boredom through the interviewers poor questioning technique.


ASX on YouTube (published 9.11.15). ASX speaks to Paul Graham on the occasion of his publication and exhibition, ‘The Whiteness of the Whale’. Available from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuW_Vioovsg& [accessed 14.11.15]


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