Herman and Roma Rosenblat, family archive, 1958




A statue of the Virgin Mary at Saint
Mary’s Church in Griffith, Indiana
attracts the attention of the faithful
after noticing a tear running down
the statues’ cheek.



















Jay J. Armes, 1976 © Anthony K. Roberts

















video still: DCPI, New York




























Darius McCollum, New York City Police Department, 1985














A tree on the side of a road
in Polk City, Iowa has been
receiving attention because
many see the silhouette of the
Virgin Mary growing on its
 trunk. Since it has been noticed,
visitors leave flowers and
candles at the base of the tree.



















Richard Heene's balloon, 2009 © Will Powers






photo: unknown



The preserved monkey is
permanently on display in the
lobby of the Georgia Bureau
of Investigation Crime Lab in
Decatur, Georgia.



photo: NASA






photo: AP Photo/Marie P. Marzi

















Rachel Doležal, family archive











A portrait of Kevin Spacey as
President Francis J. Underwood
by Jonathan Yeo presented at
the National Portrait Gallery
 in Washington D.C. amongst
other presidential portraits at a
temporary exhibition in 2016.







photo: The Florence Museum, South Carolina






The remains of the crater are still
visible at the site of the atomic
bomb accident at Mars Bluff. Its
high explosive trigger detonated
 on impact, making a crater as
large as 35 feet deep and 70 feet
wide, which is now marked by a








photo: United States Department of Defense












Ali Shalal Qaissi, 2006 © Shawn Baldwin/The New York Times  




Specter is a genetic duplicate
and like his donor, he is being
trained as an explosives detection
dog at Shallow Creek Kennels in 
Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. He is
the third clone that the kennel has
trained. The other two are now
working with federal SWAT units.








Pedestals with tissue dispensers
are placed throughout the
exhibition rooms of the National
September 11 Memorial & Museum
at Ground Zero, New York.










Margins of Excess (2018)

In Margins of Excess the notion of how personal imagination conflicts with generally accepted beliefs is expressed through the narratives of six individuals. Every one of them momentarily received nationwide attention in the US press because of their attempts to realize a dream or passion, but were presented as frauds or deceivers by the mass media’s apparent incapacity to deal with idiosyncratic versions of reality.

Herman Rosenblat became well-known because of a self-invented love-story set in a concentration camp during WWII, the private detective Jay J. Armes appears to be a real-life superhero, Darius McCollum drew media attention by compulsively highjacking trains, Richard Heene would have staged an elaborate television hoax, Rachel Doležal would have pretended to be ‘black’, and Ali Alqaisi would have tried to make people believe that he was the ‘hooded man’ in the iconic photo from Abu Ghraib prison. This book weaves together their stories through personal interviews, press articles, archival footage and staged photographs.

The current era of ‘post-truth’, in which truths, half-truths, lies, fiction or entertainment are easily interchanged, has produced a culture of ‘hyper-individual truths’, demanding a new approach to identify the underlying narratives that structure our perception of reality in a world where there is no longer a generally accepted frame of realism. Embedding the stories of the six main protagonists into a clustering tale of cloned military dogs, religious apparitions, suspect vehicles, fake terrorist plots, accidental bombings and fictional presidents, this book follows an associative logic akin to the indiscriminate way a paranoid mind connects unrelated events, or the hysteria of the 24-second news cycle.

In Margins of Excess reality and fiction are intertwined. Not to fool us, but to reveal a more intricate view of our world, which takes into account the subjective and fictitious nature of the categories we use to perceive and define it. And then again: not to celebrate superficiality and contingency, but to pierce through the noise, buzz, pulp, lies, dreams, paranoia, cynicism and laziness and to embrace ‘reality’ in all its complexity.

Read an introduction by Hans Theys:
Margins of Excess: A new photographic essay by Max Pinckers

With the support of the the Edward Steichen Award Luxembourg, the International Studio & Curatorial Program residency in New York and Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie Kunsten & Erfgoed. Max Pinckers is affiliated as a researcher to KASK / School of Arts of University College Ghent. Margins of Excess is part of his research project financed by the Arts Research Fund of University College Ghent, 2015-2021.

Reference texts & reviews:
Sunil Shah, American Suburb X, 2018
Matthew Ponsford, British Journal of Photography, 2018
Ruby Boddington, It's Nice That, 2018
Kurt Snoekx, BRUZZ, Belgium, 2018
Matthew Ponsford, CNN International, 2018
Hans Theys, H ART Magazine, Belgium, 2017
Kurt Snoekx, BRUZZ, Belgium, 2017