Photographs by Max Pam.
Éditions Bessard, 2013. 356 pp., 34,
356 pp., 3040 color illustrations, 7½x9".
This new Max Pam book SUPERTOURIST combines four chapters:
Bi-Fold Album V Collage, Old World v New World, Object v Artefact and
Islam v Asia. The conceptual thinking behind these areas of enquiry has
produced a completely new body of work from field trips covering the 4
corners of the planet over the past decade. The photographer has used
the same SUPERTOURIST concept to trawl through his huge archive of
unpublished work. By enfolding unseen work from the past with new
production we are offered a whole new interpretation of why this
photographer remains one of the most authentically original and gifted
photographers at work in the world today.
He has used a variety of media and technology – plastic cameras,
saturated and overexposed colours, digital prints, colour and black &
white, photocopying and apparent accidents. In the words of photo
critic Robert Cook, “he has used his knowledge of what it means to
take a good picture to give him the latitude to take risks. … Max
continually encourages the viewer to interpret objects as revelatory
fragments. Erotic, arch and ironic, SUPERTOURIST takes the viewer
on a journey through related arenas of travel, sex, desire and identity.”
In terms of the specifics of his chapter Object v Artefact
“Today I am still THING hungry. But then so is almost everyone else.
As a photographer I can amplify this obsession. Things depicted in my
photographs connect to the inner tension of an emotional backstory
speculating on nowness and about how the world operates right in the
moment and what is in it for me. I look for what understandings can be
derived from working on photographing a particular object/artefact.
Reducing it to its essential power to connect in a satisfying, maximum
use of its presence, its symbolism and metaphor loaded potential,
scoping magic realist understandings.”
Sometimes seemingly trivial, always ironic, these are the images,
the recollections of the Supertourist, the traveller, the observer.
For that is Max Pam’s definitive strength, his vision, his gift. He is
an observer – he captures the moment and more importantly the sense
of the moment. The isolation of travel (despite the people he meets),
the little things (despite the grand boulevard surrounding it), the view
from the room, even his name caught in the spotlight of his camera is