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Monday, 15 February 2010


The sense of sight is the most advanced, powerful and complicated of the human senses. The humas eye has eighteen times more nerve endings that the ear, its closest competitor. We see at an incredibly wide angle of vision, we can interpret around 500 levels of lightness and darkness in over one million variations of colour. However, scientifically speaking every eye has a blind spot - the point where the optic nerve connects with the retina - which suggests both a physical and metaphorical hole in our vision.

Paul Graham, '#32 Man in red hat crossing the road, Greensboro 2002' from the series 'American Night'

The photographer Paul Graham interrogates this theme in his 2003 project 'American Night'. By photographing African-American vagrants of the streets of America but radically over-exposing and bleaching out almost all detail, he challenges how we see such marginalised areas of society. In today's world, one which is so saturated with images, where everything has been photographed a hundred times over, in every way imaginable, perhaps (as Val Williams in Portfolio #38 notes) the negation of vision is the only remaining step photography can take.

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