Agra, from the portfolio Hindustan Autobiographies
Max Pam has documented the world more widely than most, with an extensive body of travel photographs spanning Europe, Asia and Australia. Pam was born in Melbourne in 1949 but was eager to escape the 'bland homogenous society' of Australian suburbia, heading to London in 1970 and beginning his career as a photographer. Pam declares; 'travel is critical to my creative development. It's part of the visual stimulation of a new environment and way I react to it and the way I can see images clearly.' His iconic black and white images of Asia are unusual in avoiding the exuberance and exotic associated with colour. Landscape is never dominant; it is the people of Asia that Pam primarily photographs, and like his work, these people display a sense of play and boundless diversity that even tight poses cannot contain. In contrast, his European and Australian photographs suggest a greater concern with abstraction and the surreal.
Describing the relationship he has to his subjects, Pam explains ‘I am different in their life, they different in mine, we both exude otherness and attraction to each other... It is our lives as a little one act play of street theatre’. In the Hindustan autobiographies portfolio, this ‘street theatre’ is bolstered by fragmentary texts that both provide narrative context for the scenes depicted and assert Pam’s own presence within them.
gelatin silver photograph and text
a - photograph, 18 x 18 cm, image
a - photograph, 29.8 x 19.9 cm, sheet
b - text, 37.4 x 28.4 cm, sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r. sheet, pencil "M Pam". Not dated.
Not on display
© Max Pam
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 1986–23 Nov 1986
My trip, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Sep 2014–07 Dec 2014
Referenced in 2 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986. cat.no. 172
Isobel Parker Philip, Look, 'Different journeys, different ways', pg 14-15, Sydney, Oct 2014, 15.