These are strange times for authenticity. Belgian photographer Max Pinckers knows this, and his new documentary photo book ‘Margins Of Excess’ presents a storyline where truth does not always equate to reality.
‘Margins Of Excess’ frames the lives of six real individuals, who each became momentarily famous in the US press for various perplexing circumstances. This includes the now infamous Rachel Dolezal, who identified as an African American woman for years despite the unmasking of her white heritage; and Herman Rosenblat, a Holocaust survivor with tales of a love story with a girl he met on opposite sides of the concentration camp fence he was imprisoned in. Rosenblat later admitted fabricating this, arguing “It was not a lie, it was in my imagination; but in my… mind, I believed it.” What the protagonists in Pinckers photo book share in common is a knack for personal imagination that stands in opposition to the status quo’s definition of truth. Does that make them liars? According to Pinckers, not necessarily.
The photographer states that the book reveals “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”. Each character photographed by Pinckers was labeled a fraud or deceiver by the mass media, whose stories about fictional presidents, fake terrorist plots, and other idiosyncratic versions of reality, were not well received. In an age where truth is apparently a flexible, non-compulsory commodity, separating fact from fiction has never been more difficult or contentious. Pinckers captured the aftermath of the media storm that followed each person, with staged compositions of each subject combined with landscape shots and newspaper clippings. ‘Margins of Excess’ feels directly attuned to the political climate of today, especially in America where superficiality prevails. The book aims to “Pierce through the noise, buzz, pulp, lies, dreams, paranoia, cynicism and laziness and to embrace ‘reality’ in all its complexity”.
All images © Max Pinckers