The Grain of the Present

Exhibition Catalogue


Published on the occasion of the exhibition
The Grain of the Present
April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018

Text by Kim Beil

336 pages | 246 images | 9.5 x 12 in. | Hardcover | 978-1-59711-000-6

Edition of 1000
Pier 24 Photography, 2017

This exhibition catalog expands on our gallery guide with an original essay by Kim Beil.

“The Grain of the Present,” Pier 24 Photography’s ninth exhibition, examines the work of ten photographers at the core of the Pilara Foundation collection—Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Lee Friedlander, Nicholas Nixon, Stephen Shore, Henry Wessel, and Garry Winogrand—whose works share a commitment to looking at everyday life as it is. Six contemporary practitioners of the medium—Eamonn Doyle, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ed Panar, Alec Soth, Awoiska van der Molen, and Vanessa Winship—are featured alongside these ten groundbreaking photographers. This generation embodies Wessel’s notion of being “actively receptive”: rather than searching for particular subjects, they are open to photographing anything around them. Yet the contemporary works seen here do not merely mimic the celebrated visual languages of the past, but instead draw on and extend them, creating new dialects that are uniquely their own.

All of the photographers in this exhibition fall within a lineage that has been and continues to be integral to defining the medium. What connects them is not simply style, subject, or books. It is their shared belief that the appearance of the physical world and the new meaning created by transforming that world into still photographs is more compelling than any preconceived ideas they may have about it. Each photographer draws inspiration from the ordinary moments of life, often seeing what others overlook—and showing us if you look closely, you can find beauty in the smallest aspects of your surroundings. As a result, the visual language of these photographers resonates beyond each photograph’s frame, informing the way viewers engage with, experience, and perceive the world.

This publication is available for purchase online and at Pier 24 Photography.

$60.00