Max Pinckers (b.1988, BE) grew up in Indonesia, India, Australia and Singapore, and is currently based in Brussels, Belgium. His work explores the critical, technological, and ideological structures that surround the production and consumption of documentary images. Documentary photography, for Pinckers, involves more than the representation of an external reality: it's a speculative process that approaches reality and truth as plural, malleable notions open to articulation in different ways.

Like the external world that it claims to represent, the documentary image is inherently unstable, dependent on context and on customary languages of realism. Pinckers’ work draws on contemporary and historical debates, merging fact, fiction and imagination to reflect on the ways that the real is defined and represented. It treats documentary as a hybrid practice involving not just images, but objects, performance, texts, found footage and sculptural interventions that investigate the complex nature of perception. Collaboration is essential to Pinckers’ practice, creating a space for the exchange of ideas between himself and the people he works with, and for critical examination of his own position as a photographer.

Ultimately, Pinckers’ self-reflexive work sets out to question both documentary discourse and artistic practice—to create new modes of documentary that foreground the deceptive nature of images yet always emotionally and empathically engages with people and their stories.

His work takes shape as self-published artist books and exhibition installations such as The Fourth Wall (2012), Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty (2014), and Margins of Excess (2018). Pinckers is a Doctor in the Arts and guest lecturer at the School of Arts KASK & Conservatorium in Ghent, Belgium. He has received multiple international awards, such as the Edward Steichen Award Luxembourg 2015 and the Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2018. In 2015 he founded the independent publishing house Lyre Press and The School of Speculative Documentary in 2017. Pinckers is represented by Gallery Sofie Van de Velde in Antwerp and Tristan Lund in London.

2015 - 2021 PhD Doctorate in the Arts: Visual Arts, KASK & Conservatory, the school of arts of HOGENT and Howest, Ghent, Belgium
2010 - 2012 MFA in Visual Arts, School of Arts KASK & Conservatory, Ghent, Belgium
2008 - 2010 BA in Visual Arts, School of Arts KASK & Conservatory, Ghent, Belgium

2018 Winner, Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Berlin, Germany
2018 Shortlisted, Photo-Text Book Award, Les Rencontres d’Arles, France
2018 Runner-up Prize, Maribor Photobook Award, Slovenia
2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe: The Arts, Forbes Magazine, USA
2016 Finalist, Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Berlin, Germany
2015 Laureate, Edward Steichen Award, Luxembourg
2014 Finalist, Young Belgian Art Prize 2015, Brussels, Belgium
2014 Winner, M. Hans Vossen Prize, ArtContest, Centrale for Contemporary Art, Brussels, Belgium
2014 Winner, Photographic Museum of Humanity Grant, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2014 Honourable Mention, Aperture Portfolio Prize, New York, USA
2013 Finalist, Paris Photo / Aperture Photobook Awards - First Photobook, Paris, France
2013 Winner, City of Levallois Photography Award, France
2012 Winner, Horlait-Dapsens Prize, School of Arts, Ghent, Belgium
2010 Winner, Le Soir Prize, Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium

2021 Max Pinckers, Hans Theys, Hannibal Books, Belgium
2018 Red Ink, Max Pinckers, self-published, Belgium
2018 Margins of Excess, Max Pinckers, self-published, Belgium
2014 Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty, Max Pinckers, self-published, Belgium
2012 The Fourth Wall, Max Pinckers, self-published, Belgium
2011/16 Lotus, Max Pinckers & Quinten De Bruyn, Lyre Press, Belgium

2017 Controversy, Max Pinckers & Sam Weerdmeester, Lyre Press, Belgium
2016 Floating Worlds, Max Pinckers & Daisuke Yokota, Lyre Press & Rorhof, Belgium/Italy
2013 Rheum, De Bedoeling & foundfootage.be, Belgium
2012 Mamihlapinatapai, Max Pinckers & Michiel Burger, self-published, The Netherlands

2018 Founding member of The School of Speculative Documentary
2015 - 2017 Nominee at Magnum Photos
2015 Founder of the independent publishing imprint Lyre Press
2014 Founder of the Brussels based artist collective De Bedoeling vzw

2022 Give and Take. Bilder über Bilder, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
2021/22 Solo exhibition, Double Bind, FOMU - Fotomuseum Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
2021 Solo exhibition, Arrangements, Gallery Sofie Van De Velde, Antwerp, Belgium
2021 The Real and the Record, Thessaloniki PhotoBiennale, Thessaloniki, Greece
2021 How to Win at Photography – Image-Making as Play, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland
2021 Not Standing Still: New Approaches in Documentary Photography, PHOTO2021, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, Australia
2021 Re-Collect, FOMU - Fotomuseum Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
2021 Maybe Tomorrow - Joris Ghekiere, Emergent, Veurne, Belgium
2020 Solo exhibition, Margins of Excess, Robert Morat Galerie, Berlin, Germany
2020 Solo exhibition, Margins of Excess, WU Space, Shenyang, China
2020 The Lives and Loves of Images, Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim, Germany
2019 Joint Memory: Photographic Fragments, FOTODOK, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2019 Solo exhibition, Margins of Excess, Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Northern Ireland
2018 Tea Ceremony and Flower Arrangement, IBASHO Gallery, Antwerp
2018 "It is difficult / to get the news ...", Gallery Sofie Van de Velde, Antwerp, Belgium
2018 Photo Friction, Cultuurcentrum Mechelen, Mechelen, Belgium
2017 Mixing / Memory and Desire, BredaPhoto, Breda, The Netherlands
2017 Controversy: Max Pinckers & Sam Weerdmeester, M HKA: Inbox, Antwerp, Belgium
2017 Trophy Camera v0.9: Dries Depoorter & Max Pinckers, Braakland, FOMU, Antwerp, Belgium
2016 Solo exhibition, Will They Sing ..., Re Gallery, MOCAK, Photomonth Festival, Krakow, Poland
2016 Floating Worlds: Max Pinckers & Daisuke Yokota, Foto-Forum, Bozen/Bolzano, Italy
2016 Max Pinckers & Daisuke Yokota, Gallery Sofie van de Velde, Antwerp, Belgium
2015 Picture This, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
2015 Will They Sing Like Raindrops ..., Centrale for Contemporary Art, Brussels, Belgium
2015 Young Belgian Art Prize Exhibition, Bozar - Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium
2015 Solo exhibition, Focus Photography Festival / Motherland, Mumbai, India
2015 Solo exhibition, RIOT, Ghent, Belgium
2015 Solo exhibition, Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2014 Verf na Van Eyck, CROXHAPOX, Ghent, Belgium
2014 Solo exhibition, Paraty Em Foco, Paraty, Brazil
2014 Coming People 2014, S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium
2014 The Belgian Six, presented by The Word, Bozar - Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium
2014 The Conclusion of A Movement in A Neutral Direction, Botanique, Brussels
2014 Icones, BIP | Pixels of Paradise, BAL - Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège, Belgium
2013/14 Indomania, EUROPALIA, Bozar - Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium
2013 City of Levallois Photography Award, L’Escale gallery, Levallois, France
2013 Solo Exhibition, The Fourth Wall, Flageywood, EUROPALIA, Flagey, Brussels, Belgium
2013 Young Belgian Photography, FOMU, Antwerp, Belgium
2013 foundfootage.be, Private Investigations, Beursschouwburg, Brussels, Belgium
2012 Mamihlapinatapai, De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2012 Between the Lines, CROXHAPOX, Ghent, Belgium
2012 .tiff, Young Belgian Talent, De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2022 Max Pinckers's Fantastic Fictions, Frieze, USA
2022 Een speculatief vat vol verhalen – Een gesprek met Max Pinckers, Metropolis M, The Netherlands
2022 Met fotografie herstelt de Belgische fotograaf Max Pinckers de geschiedschrijving, de Volkskrant, The Netherlands
2021 Schuldgevoelens leiden tot niks, HART Magazine, Belgium
2021 ‘We geloven niet wat we zien, we zien wat we geloven’, De Standaard, Belgium
2021 Belgisch fotograaf Max Pinckers: ‘Een foto vertelt helemaal niets’, De Morgen, Belgium
2021 Photo No-Nos: Meditations on What Not to Photograph, Aperture, USA
2020 The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Charlotte Cotton, Thames & Hudson, UK
2020 Reimagining Time, Reconstructing Space: Visual Approaches to Mau Mau History in Kenya, Chao Maina and Max Pinckers, Trigger, Fw:Books, The Netherlands
2020 [IMAGE MATTERS]: image/con/text: Documentary Practices Between Journalism, Art and Activism, edited by Karen Fromm, Sophia Greiff, Malte Radtki, and Anna Stemmler, Reimer Verlag, Germany
2020 Yoyo: On a photograph by Max Pinckers and Quinten De Bruyn, Hans Theys, HART, Belgium
2020 Fiction as a Visual Strategy in the Photobook: How Contemporary Photographers Challenge the Documentary Genre through the Printed Page, Stefan Vanthuyne, in When Fact Is Fiction: Documentary Art in the Post-Truth Era, edited by Nele Wynants, Valiz, The Netherlands
2019 Photography in India: A Visual History from the 1850s to the Present, Prestel, Munich-London-New York
2019 Photobook Belge 1854–Now, FOMU – Fotomuseum Antwerp/Hannibal Publishing, Belgium
2018 Real lies: A photographer’s portrait of America in the post-truth era, Huck Magazine, UK
2018 Max Pinckers Interview: On Speculative Documentary, American Suburb X, USA
2017 Max Pinckers: Deus ex Magnum, Bruzz, Brussels, Belgium
2017 Hopen op de Goden: Max Pinckers & en Lara Gasparotto, Canvas, VRT, Belgium
2017 A Photographer's Search for Cracks in North Korea ..., The New Yorker, USA
2017 Playing Perfectly: On Outsourcing Creation To Machines, GUP Magazine, The Netherlands
2017 Book: Lotus by Max Pinckers and Quinten de Bruyn, British Journal of Photography, UK
2017 Één groot theater, De Standaard, Belgium
2016 Truth and Fictions in Everyday Japan, TIME Lightbox, USA
2016 Het Beeld, Franky D.C: Instinct Double Point, 1990 (detail), De Standaard, Belgium
2016 Exhibition review: Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself, H ART #152, Belgium
2015 Self Publish, Be Happy: A DIY Photobook Manual and Manifesto, Aperture, USA
2015 Love in India, The New Yorker, USA
2015 Best Photobooks of 2014, Voices of Photography Magazine, Taiwan
2014 Over Vorm. Het Vervolg, Hans Theys, Belgium
2014 Best Photobooks of 2014, selected by Alec Soth, Time Magazine, USA
2014 Echt of niet echt, who cares?, De Morgen Magazine, Belgium
2014 The World Atlas of Street Photography, Jackie Higgins, Thames & Hudson, UK
2014 India’s Love Commandos, Sean O’Hagan, The Guardian, UK
2014 Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty, GUP#43 Sweet Life, The Netherlands
2014 Parades amoureuses, M Le magazine Du Monde, France
2014 A Song of Love, The Indian Express, India
2014 Getuige of Medeplichtige?, H ART #128, Belgium
2014 Fotograaf Max Pinckers is overal vrij, en zeker in India, De Morgen, Belgium
2014 The Belgian Six, De Morgen, Belgium
2014 Kunstenaarspagina, H ART #121, Belgium
2013 Love, Honour & Disobey, British Journal of Photography magazine, UK
2013 India in een flits, De Morgen, Belgium
2013 Licht op verboden liefde, De Telegraaf, The Netherlands
2013 Europalia India focust op een natie in spagaat, De Morgen, Belgium
2013 File 01 | Max Pinckers, IMA magazine, Japan
2013 Coming of Age, British Journal of Photography magazine, UK
2013 Bollywood, Echt?, DS Weekblad magazine, De Standaard, Belgium
2013 Dummy, Foam Magazine #34, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2013 Ones to Watch, British Journal of Photography magazine, UK
2012 Het Kijkbeeld, Hans Theys, Belgium
2012 The Fourth Wall, Monthly Photography Magazine, Korea
2012 Tegenpolen in omhelzing, De Morgen, Belgium
2012 Focus, Een blik op 100 kunstenaars, Hans Theys, Belgium
2012 Fotografie in de ban van zelfreflectie, De Volkskrant, The Netherlands
2012 A Stamp of Approval - nominated by Dirk Braeckman, The Word magazine, Belgium
2012 Collectie by Hans Theys, M HKAzine #11, Belgium
2012 .tiff magazine, first edition, FOMU, Antwerp, Belgium
Max Pinckers © 2022 Sakura Fhoto