Max Pinckers

Thanks to a Facebook post by photographer George Georgiou for a link to Colin Pantall’s blog post Liverpool Look/15: Don’t Take Boring Pictures, a look at the current Liverpool at Look/15 Festival continuing until Sun 31 May 2015.

Were I in Liverpool I would certainly go and take a look, although the big show, Martin Parr and Tony Ray Jones in Only in England at the Walker Art Gallery is one already seen in London, and which I reviewed here last year as well as posting a link to a review by John Benton-Harris, who knew TRJ well.

While I had huge reservations about the ideas behind the show and some aspects of its presentation and John made very clear his thoughts on the misrepresentation of his friend’s work, I still concluded “It really is one of the most significant shows of photography here in the UK for some years“. In part that is a reflection on the fact that most of the more significant photography shows fail to get a showing in this country. But it is an opportunity to see around 50 vintage images taken by TRJ (if rather fewer of them actually made by him than claimed) but also as a reminder of what a good black and white photographer Martin Parr could be back in the 1970s.

But this is also a show which contains Parr’s selection of work the TRJ rejected, printed in a way he would have felt totally unsuited to his work, contradicting the clear directions he gave to people – like Benton-Harris – he got to make prints for him. It was a travesty that Benton-Harris clearly felt strongly about and makes his feelings abundantly clear in his review, and I think represents a failure to respect the work of Ray Jones by the organisation entrusted with his legacy.

What prompted me to write this post today was however the final section of Pantall’s post, about the apparently rather hard to find show of work by Belgian photographer Max Pinckers, Will They Sing Like Raindrops Or Leave Me Thirsty, a project on “the price of love in India and the stories encountered daily by the Love Commandos, a volunteer group working to prevent honour killings by providing assistance to those who have found love outside their prescribed destiny” which you can explore in greater depth on Pinckers’ own web site.

The work is the fourth self-published book by Pinckers (as well as a self-published book dummy – I’m unclear about the distinction) and copies of it are expensive, with a ‘special edition’ including a signed print still available for 320 Euros and shipping. There is an interesting interview with the photographer about his earlier highly praised book ‘The Fourth Wall’ by Taco Hidde Bakker, though this was a work that failed to arouse much of my interest.

Looking on-line at a selection of pages from the latest book and images on the web site, I find the work far more suited to the web presentation, which animates the series of images of images which on the page – which despite Pantall’s assertion – do sometimes become rather boring.

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