Book Review: Paris 11th-15th November, 2015 by Paul Graham
By Baylee McKeel
The attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 130 people reverberated around the world, leaving a deep scar, the everlasting effects of which English photographer Paul Graham explores in his work, Paris 11th-15th November 2015. Graham took refuge in his apartment with his partner and child during the attacks, producing these haunting images that echo the seen and unseen tensions raging outside the four walls of his sanctuary. An internationally-exhibited documentary photographer, Graham creates an entire series within his home. Using static objects and dynamic shifts of light, he mirrors the displacement an entire city felt when the familiar was suddenly and violently upturned. The city of light was forced into dark while a nation mourned, and waited in heavy anticipation of what would come next.
Graham captures this feeling of fleeting nostalgia; the yearning for a return of the familiar, for the known, for comfort in a time where it seemed it may never come. His images of mundane objects, of the floor he’s walked on daily, of the curtains he wakes up to every morning, the door he opens everyday, are morphed by the light creeping through them, by the world outside breaking through and distorting his familiar life. One of the most stirring photographs shows his partner clinging to his child. A ray of light sweeps across them in the dark, a transient reminder of the love we cling to in tragedy. Paris 11th-15th November, 2015 is a haunting work, one born from darkness, from the unknown, one which directly addresses the tragic events of November 2015 while simultaneously seeking refuge within the walls of Graham’s apartment.