Max Pam

– photo by Max Pam, South India 03 Journal, 2004

Late in 1969 I was over at the Student Union watching an anti Vietnam War demonstration when a friend drew my attention to a message on the notice board: ASTROPHYSICIST REQUIRES HELP TO DRIVE V.W. BUG FROM CALCUTTA TO LONDON. I applied and got the job because I was the only person in the university ready to just pack up and go. The idea drew me like a magnet. By February 1970 we had driven into Nepal. Three months later, we were in Istanbul. I studied photography for one year in London, yet I was never comfortable. All the time Asia was calling me back.

I quit college in 1971 and hitchhiked back to India. Just inside the Yugoslavian frontier I was given a lift by some English people driving a purple Transit Van, all six of whom looked like extras from the remake of Sinbad’s Rough Night In Cairo. Getting in the van was like flying inside a giant purple tab of L.S.D. They were intent on heading for Athens to finance their trip further East by selling drugs. I sold two litres of blood in Kavala for $12 and was picked up on the road outside Istanbul by an even larger busload of hippies. I stayed with them through Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, until the old bus blew up in Kabul. I had a Hasselblad camera with me. At some stage going east that year I had become a photographer.

Thirty five years later and I am still travelling. Last week I flew back from working on my new book project in Rome. The work is a compression of old world (Europe), new world (Australia) culture dysfunction. I leave Rome, the eternal city of 2.500 years of history, frying in mid summer heat and surrounded by 400 million Europeans. Twenty-two hours later I land at Perth on the Western edge of planet Australia. It is mid-winter, Perth is 120 years old and is the most isolated capital city in the world. There are 1.25 million people living in Western Australia and it has a surface area larger than Europe. This is why I still travel.
– quoted from Roving Eye Exhibition online catalogue, here