Max Pinckers was kind enough to gift me one copy of his photo book, the series on Bollywood called “The Fourth Wall”. The project has already been featured on numerous websites and magazines and its great to be able to look through the work in its physical form.
The first thing which strikes you about the book is the very design. Soft cover, its jacket seems to be a picture of a cheap landscape poster you’d usually find on the streets or inside old studios. There are distinct reflections of flash on its glossy surface which not only illuminates it but also brings out its surreal pictorial nature. The book opens with the photographers name and title, moving on to a picture of Ganesha and Sai Baba on a makeshift temple somewhere on a plastic chair (Max later wrote to me explaining : at the beginning of every shooting day, the camera must film the idols and the altar for a couple of seconds before anything else is recorded in order to bless the film).
The paper used in the book is standard newspaper grade and you can feel the texture of it as you move through it. Max has brilliantly been able to keep the puncture marks made by the printing machine on the edges of these pages so they stick together and you must delicately pull them apart as to see whats inside, much like the fresh morning news paper. Series of images shot by the photographer are merged with text (extracts from mostly newspaper articles which are listed in the back) and found footage related to the series.
Max’s iconic documentary and somewhat advertising style is what brings together this book. It rises from being just snapshots in Mumbai to a surreal space, a city where everything is dramatic yet doesn’t cross the boundaries of normality. Its brilliant how the space is transformed in his work, how the photographer here is able to bring in a sense of larger than life cinema scape into anything. And I can’t deny that the work is built around the discomforting sharp humour which leaves behind the emotions of ironical reality fused with drama.
Nevertheless, I love this series and I think its a great addition to anyone’s collection. Do have a look at Max’s website here and if you’re interested in the book, they are available via a few online book store or directly via Max.