Max Kandhola is Principal Lecturer and Course Leader for BA Hons Photography at Nottingham Trent University. He is responsible for the academic leadership, the design, delivery and content of curricula and management of the Photography programme. He teaches on the undergraduate and postgraduate studies and research supervision.
Kandhola's approach to his research is philosophical – photography used within a cultural discourse, critically observing and questioning the complexity and relationship of the human condition and the politics of representation in photography. Max is interested in practice based research proposals that engage within a political and social context, exploring issues and questions around the following:
• Ancestral narratives through people, using architecture and landscape in relation to history and heritage (Photography used to locate memory, place, and landscape)
• Spaces of Death & Dying; Photography, still or moving image, theory and practice exploration of the visual representation of death, dying and trauma in photography
• Our visual curiosity of Faith and Belief.
• British Boxing, used as a metaphor, to study society, cultures and the boxing environment.
Max Kandhola Publications
The Aura of Boxing
Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing ISBN: 978-1-907893-48-3
200mm x 240mm
Max Kandhola has been documenting boxers and their environment since 1996. This multi-site exhibition* marks the conclusion of the project and the launch of a new major publication on Max's practice by Dewi Lewis Publishing. The essence of the narrative within the collection is based around three British boxers, Howard Clarke, Julius Francis and Robert McCracken, each providing a different context to the story of boxing. For this exhibition, Max has photographed Nottingham born and three time world champion boxer, Carl Froch.
The Aura of Boxing encapsulates Max's ability to research through the act of photography, using his camera as a means to explore and unveil the depths of life. In this collection the explicit representation of the traditional 'fight' is avoided; instead Max explores conflicts within the fighter. Kandhola focuses on the ring and the gym as spaces for preparation and meditation in an attempt to capture the boxers' aura in these moments of psychological intensity;
Using boxing as a metaphor, Kandhola's research reflects upon the psychological gesture of performance in the sport, and the ritual of the individual boxers. In addition, the work documents the attempted flight from inner-city poverty that is common to many young boxers. Exploring how these athletes have been cocooned by the social pressures of the inner-city, Kandhola's work reveals the impact and presence of mind that manifests within this urban landscape, reflecting the politics of class and clan.
*Aura of Boxing was launched at three venues in 2014; New Art Exchange, Rich Mix, London and Quad's Chocolate Factory.
Flatland A Landscape of Punjab
Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing
Hardback, clothbound with inset
96 pages, 42 photographs
300 x 300mm
Max Kandhola decided to go back to Punjab after completing his project Illustration of Life (2002) in which he documented his father’s last moments of life, and reflected on issues within Sikh ritual, immortality and death. The Punjab is the land of the five rivers, five (Punj) rivers (Aab). Using a backdrop of uncharted villages, Kandhola has used the location of the rivers and the surrounding landscape metaphorically to discuss aspects of Sikh Diaspora. Kandhola’s photographs avoid the usual iconographic pictorial references to culture and ethnicity associated with representations of India. Over the last four years, he has visited the region as part of a continuing project to map family history through an odyssey of ancestral narratives, exploring memory, diaspora and identity. For him it is a land, which is unfamiliar, yet it provides both a context and a beginning. Kandhola’s journey began in Nurmahal, in the district of Jalandhar, from which most of his family originally came. Using this as a starting point he travelled from the centre of Punjab outwards.
Illustration of Life published by Dewi Lewis Publishing, LightWork New York, Impressions Gallery UK
64 pages, 235mm x 260mm
Illustration of Life is a visual representation of the inescapable nature of human mortality and as an original comment on the shifting cultural aesthetic of the representation of death.
Kandhola works within an established pictorial and symbolic tradition of photography, a medium itself regarded as that which figures death in its mortification of life. His use of the medium is forensic, his working process a reflexive gesture with respect to the nature of the photographic trace. Kandhola’s work is also a personal document. He observes the final four hours of his father’s death; collects fragments of hair, blood tissues, urine, and photographs them. His text discusses aspects of Sikh ritual and religion as a process and observation in the representation of death and it’s aftermath, in juxtaposition to the images often brutal, anthropological recording of the fact of death.
'The seven last words of Christ' photographs
Published by Contact Sheet.112 24-29. Syracuse, New York, Light Work.
There are multiple layers of interpretation when considering this work. The historical significance of Day's original photographs, his own sexuality, the rise of the black theology movement in Britain in the late twentieth century, and in Kandhola's reinterpretation of work in relation to the representation of individuals of African descent, or more specifically non-European descent, in what Kandhola refers to as 'the dilution of history through literature, and paintings within Western culture.'
The difficulty of overcoming nearly two millenniums of social conditioning is daunting. One of the cornerstones of the Christian church is the belief in the humanity of Christ, and while it would be preferable for many Christians to embrace a mental image of a Christ that appears as they do, such a narrow association to a specific race only serves to diminish the teachings on which the church is founded.
The Aura of Boxing, Chocolate Factory Derby March –April 2014
The Aura of Boxing, Rich Mix, London March 2014
The Aura of Boxing, New Art Exchange Nottingham Jan – April 2014
The Last Seven Words of Christ & The Gaze I-VII. The Church of St. Martin's, Bullring, Birmingham, 13 March - 15 April 2013.Chattering ghosts., Archipelago [group exhibition]. [Show/Exhibition]
The Last Seven Words of Christ. St. Mary’s Church, Lace Market, Nottingham, 6 – 30 April 2012. [Show/Exhibition]
Wounding the Black Male. CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, 2012. [Show/Exhibition]
Wounding the Black Male. Robert B. Mensciel Gallery, LightWork, Syracuse, NY, USA, 2012. [Show/Exhibition]
Wounding the Black Male. TCNJ Art Gallery, Ewing, NJ, USA, March 2011. [Show/Exhibition]
Wounding the Black Male. [Former] Church of St. Barnabas King Square, London, 22 April - 31 July 2011. [Show/Exhibition]
Flatlands: a landscape of Punjab. Photographs & installation of paintings, drawings and related works. Impressions Gallery, Bradford, April - June 2010. [Show/Exhibition]
Field Notes & Explorations (Flatland a Landscape of Punjab). Central European House of Photography, Bratislava, Slovakia, 14 May–7 June 2009. [Show/Exhibition]
Flatlands: a landscape of Punjab & illustration of life, (installation). PhotoInk, Delhi, September - October 2009. [Show/Exhibition]
KANDHOLA, M., 2008. [Group exhibition representing the UK at:] Pingyao International Photo Festival China, September 2008. [Show/Exhibition]
KANDHOLA, M., 2013. The aura of boxing, Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing. ISBN 9781907893483
JACKSON, C., CUNNINGHAM, S. and KANDHOLA, M., 2011. Wounding the black male [exhibition catalogue]. New Jersey, USA: TCNJ Gallery.
KANDHOLA, M., 2007. Flatland: a landscape of Punjab. Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing. ISBN 1904587399
KANDHOLA, M., 2007. The alchemy of shadows: [exhibition catalogue of Third Lianzhou International Photography Festival]. LIPF.
KANDHOLA, M., WILSON, R. and VASSIE, A., 2006. Luminous [Catalogue of an exhibition held at Hotel d'Arlatan, Les Rencontres d'Arles, France, July - September, 2006]. UNSPECIFIED.
DOWNEY, A. and KANDHOLA, M., 2006. The living is easy: international contemporary photography [catalogue of an exhibition held at Flowers East Gallery, London, August - September, 2006]. London: Flowers East. ISBN 1902945816
KANDHOLA, M., 2005. Illustration of life [Catalogue of an exhibition held at Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, November, 2001]. Bratislava, Slovakia: Galeria Medium. ISBN 8088675812
KANDHOLA, M., 2005. On dying [Catalogue of an exhibition held in November, 2005]. Bratislava, Slovakia: Fotofo. ISBN 8085739437
KANDHOLA, M. and TULLOCH, C., 2004. Black style [catalogue of an exhibition held at Victoria & Albert Museum, London]. London: Victoria & Albert Museum Publications. ISBN 1851774246
KANDHOLA, M., 2003. Illustration of life. Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing. ISBN 0935445285
KANDHOLA, M., 2002. Illustration of life. Syracuse, New York: Light Work. ISBN 0935445277
KANDHOLA, M., 2001. Fluid [Catalogue of an exhibition held at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, September, 2001]. Wolverhampton: Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
KANDHOLA, M. and SEALY, M., 1995. Peter Max Kandhola: monograph. London: Autograph ABP (Association of Black Publishers). ISBN 1899282025
Max Kandhola’s work is held in numerous collections;
The National Archive and Research Centre for Culturally Diverse Photography, Autograph ABP, London; The Deutsche Bank Collection; Government Art Collection UK; Light Work Syracuse New York; Bradford Museum of Photography Film & Television; Wolverhampton Art Gallery UK; Virgin Records UK; Birmingham Library photographic collections & Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; various private individual collections in Europe, USA and India.