Max Vadukul (born 2 February 1961, Nairobi, Kenya) is a photographer who has worked mostly in the United States. He is noted for his fashion photography, portraits published in The New Yorker and many covers for Rolling Stone magazine.
Early life and career
Vadukul was born to Indian parents in Nairobi, educated in England and lived for a time in Paris. Vadukul's first success came when David Puttnam asked him to take a photograph of his assistant.
In 1984 Vadukul was employed as a photographer by Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto whose young art director Marc Ascoli was looking for young, beginning photographers. Vadukul asked for a cash advance with which to buy a camera, then took black-and-white images in Manhattan for the project. Vadukul began taking photographs for The Face in the early 1980s and also worked for the French, American and Italian editions of Vogue. Much of his work is not credited aside from by-lines in editorial mastheads. Vadukal's work has included photographs of Lisa Stansfield, panoramic shots for Veuve Cliquot and manipulated colour images in advertisements for Chloé.
In 1985, Vadukul also branched into video and television commercial directing with an award-winning advertisement for Williwear called The Expedition. He has cited Stanley Kubrick's evolution from still photography into film directing as a career model.
Vadukul has said he rejects a Pre-Raphaelite image of women in his work, seeing modern women instead as "powerful, aggressive." "Vadukal spent seven years in Paris working for French Vogue and Egoiste and became well known for his black and white photography."
In a 1992 interview for Frieze, Vadukul noted his need to keep the fashion world at a distance, describing it as "a very immature business... It’s for young people—your audience is sixteen to twenty-year-old girls... Fashion photography can swallow you up with its champagne and caviar lifestyle." He said photography was his priority, recalling, "I started off travelling the world, taking documentary pictures—I never looked at fashion magazines. I happen to like women, and for me it is very rewarding to document the woman of today; but I am just as happy to photograph cars or hi-fis."
In the 1990s Vadukul mostly photographed portraits for The New Yorker, joining Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon . It was during his time at "The New Yorker" , where he took his famed portrait of Mother Teresa.  "Self Portrait: Max Vadukul", National Geographic Channel, 16 February 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2008.</ref> He gained access to Nelson Mandela by asking for help from Naomi Campbell and later recalled Mandela "was at her knees." Vadukul's first book Max combined both portraiture and fashion images. In 2000 he told The New York Times, "I like labels. The pants are Prada ... socks are Paul Smith ... I'm not antifashion. I like fashion."
A documentary called Self-Portrait: Max Vadukul (2000) was produced by the National Geographic Channel. Vadukul described it as "not an MTV, or VH1 kind of thing ... It's more serious." The documentary examined his catalogue photography for Victoria's Secret and his regular work for publications such as Mademoiselle, GQ and other Condé Nast magazines along with portraits of a wide range of subjects, attributing Vadukul with "a smart, fast, and wry style borne of a personal history that reads like a novel." Vadukal has shot at least a dozen covers for Rolling Stone magazine and has also worked for Italian Vogue, Vogue Hommes International, i-D, Chloé and Armani.
- Max: Photographs by Max Vadukul. New York: Callaway Publications, 2000.
- Crazy Horse. New York: Piccolo Press, 2001.
- Bellafante, Ginia. "Front Row", The New York Times, 7 November 2000. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
- art-dept.com, Vadukal, retrieved 17 February 2008
- Harrison, Martin. "Stepping Out: The photography of Max Vadukul", Frieze magazine, January 1992. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
- nga.nu, "Yohji Yamamoto, Martha Rosler, Sada Tangara, Carlos Garaicoa", Kunst Nu, 30 October 2002. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
- "Self Portrait: Max Vadukul", National Geographic Channel, 16 February 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
- rollingstone.com, Write your own cover line, retrieved 17 February 2008
- allposters.com, Jessica-Simpson-Rolling-Stone-no-936-November-2003, retrieved 17 February 2008
- Vadukul's website (unusable without Flash)
- Max Vadukul's Portfolio at Art Department
- Max Vadukul at Contour Photos (PDF file)
- Article on photography, including a Vadukul "leaping woman", New York Times.
- , "The Guardian"
- , "i-D"