John Max: Montreal, 1983

John Max: Montreal, 1983 Posted by Hello

This is a photo of my friend, John Max taken in 1983. John is one of the best photographers I have ever known. Unfortunately he also is immersed in the worse case of creative block that I have ever seen or heard of. His career peaked in the early 70’s with his exhibition titled Open Passport in Ottawa and Montreal. He then went to Japan for a few years. He returned with 2500 rolls of unexposed film. Somewhere in the midst of processing this huge volume, his work stopped. “I want to finish developing my film, making my contacts and exhibit the prints” he told me in 1983. “I just have to straighten out my shit first. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up. I have to organize my life before I can develop my film.” Apparently that never happened because he still has 1500 rolls of film rotting somewhere undeveloped. It really a sad tragedy becasue I have three prints that he managed to make from this series before he became distracted, and they are magnificent. John always marched to his own drum and at some point hopefully, he will have his exhibit, however I stopped nagging him about his procrastinating sometime in 1995.


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  1. The process of denial …and/or not taking care of business goes under the excuse (to quote Mr. Max)… “I need to get the house in order…”


  2. Would it be possible to get a book of pictures by John Max? My mother, is his first cousin, and I would love to get something for her like that.
    Thank you.


    • There was a book published of his exhibition Called “Open Passport” but that was over 40 years ago. It was published by the NFB and is out of print but I have seen copies from time to time on Ebay.


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