David Graham, Untitled (house), from the series In Defense of America, 1988, c-print, 20 x 24", courtesy of the Samuel Dorsky Museum

David Graham, Untitled (house), from the series In Defense of America, 1988, c-print, 20 x 24″, courtesy of the Samuel Dorsky Museum

David Graham

In 1988 I was asked to provide photographs for a congressional report on the relative safety of contemporary nuclear weapons testing techniques. Was I a specialist on this subject at this time? Doubtful. I hadn’t even thought of the subject in recent memory. I was asked because of my reputation as a photographer of the odd and semi-unusual. I was assured that with craters the size of Yankee Stadium and motel bits strewn about the desert, oddity was in the offing. I was not disappointed.

As part of the congressional report, I, fortunately, only photographed the construction and not the destruction of one of these tunnels. As it was, there was great concern for my presence. I had a guide, a photographer from the Test Site to take Polariods, and a scientist to pre-clear them on the spot. I then handed over the film which the Department of Defense developed, proofed, and cleared before I could see it. On my second trip to the tunnels in 1989, I was not allowed to actually take the pictures but to only direct them. Ultimately, these pictures were never cleared.

Tirelessly traveling the United States, David Graham captures the colorful, sometimes surreal, and often bizarre, in the American landscape. Graham has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the United States and Europe. His work is included in many collections and has been featured in numerous publications. A few of his many grants include ASMP/Nikon Emerging Photographer Award, NY in 1986, the National Endowment for the Art, in1984, and three recent grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.