Portfolio: Little Chef in Rain, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, May, 1982, Paul Graham

In 1983 the photographer Paul Graham published his first book, A1 – The Great North Road, a grey-skyed, rain-drenched visual essay on the 400-mile road that connected London to Edinburgh. The route had a history that stretched back before Roman times, but the road itself was built in the first half of the twentieth century. By the 1950s it was already being bypassed (both literally and figuratively) by the motorway.

Graham was a self-taught English photographer (encouraged by his scout master) who was in his twenties and unemployed when he shot this image. His 1980s vision of the Great North Road, now republished by MACK, is one of fry-ups and Little Chefs and truck drivers and formica and boiler suits. All shot in colour.

It’s a window into a lost world nearly 40 years gone. So close and yet now so far away. A1 – The Great North Road, by Paul Graham, is published by MACK, priced GBP40.

Photograph (C) Paul Graham

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