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A super-tourist's archive

Australian photographer Max Pam captures Asia through mishaps and fleeting encounters

Growing up in suburban Melbourne in the 1960s, australian photographer Max Pam knew he had to get out for inspiration. A strike of luck in 1970 had him traveling overland through Asia in a VW buggy to London, an epic roadtrip that would shape his career to come. Since then, Max has returned again and again to his beloved Asia, photographing his experiences, adventures and mishaps. His new book Super Tourist, a title refering to Susan Sontag's idea of the photographer as an “extension of the anthropologist”, could not be more apt. 

Is your new book a way for you to make sense of your output? To me it seems like you are trying out your non-Asia work and investigating how it relates to your main body of work.

The book really ties together a whole lot of fieldwork that has always been a part of my process, life and research. The bulk of the work was made over the last decade, however it does couple with and amplify a lot of the earlier work. On reading my archive holistically it was easy to see which way I could get into and find the relevant pages for the book. The books four chapters  became tools for cutting through the archive.

What drives you after 40 years in the field?

It’s the quality of life that doing photos offers. It’s so good where it takes you and to whom it introduces you to. How do you let that addiction go? Why ever stop?

What is next for you?

Much, much more of the same.