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Paul Graham: The Present

One of the best shows currently up in Chelsea, Paul Graham: The Present is a thrilling, engaging, and slightly frightening mediation on how we understand and experience day-to-day life in the city. Many pairs are hung near the floor of the gallery, which explicitly inserts the viewer into the scene pictured, and challenges the viewer to question how he or she experiences everyday travels through a bustling city.

Graham’s large-format photographs function in pairs, each showing the same location (outside a Citibank, or an office building), at different times. The lighting and composition of the images have a distinctly cinematic quality, and the poses could be staged, but the picture’s veracity never quite seems in question.

Graham’s photos are like portraits of the films we daydream our lives (and the lives of others) to be. They are our inner monologues, externalized, and as such are meditations on the role photography plays in how we construct our personal identities.

Paul Graham: The Present
On view until April 21st
The Pace Gallery
545 West 22nd Street
New York