Max Vadukul

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Max Vadukul
Born February 2, 1961
Nairobi, Kenya
Nationality British
Known for Photography

Max Vadukul (born 2 February 1961, Nairobi, Kenya) is a British photographer who is based in New York City.[1] He is noted for his art reportage[2] photography, which he describes as “taking reality and making it into art.” He has a lifelong affinity with black and white photography, a foundation of much of his early work. From 1996 to 2000 Max was the staff photographer for The New Yorker, second after Richard Avedon. Sting has described his photography as a sort of "On the move style".

Early life[edit]

Vadukul was born in 1961 to Indian parents in Nairobi, Kenya. He spent his teenage years in London, England & lived for a brief period of his adulthood in Paris, France. Vadukul's first success came when Lord David Puttnam asked him to take photographs of his producers.


Yohji Yamamoto

In 1984 Vadukul was hired by the Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto[3] whose young art director, Marc Ascoli was looking for young, beginning photographers. Vadukul asked for a cash advance to buy a camera, introducing many to his signature movement-filled black and white images for the first time. Vadukul & Yamamoto later collaborated on a series of fashion films, including the film "The Man with the Suitcase" for Yamamoto's clothing line "Coming Soon".

Editorial Work

Vadukul began taking photographs for The Face in the early 1980s and also worked for the French, American and Italian editions of Vogue. He has had long standing relationships with magazines such as The New Yorker, French Vogue, British Vogue, Italian Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, and Rolling Stone.[4] In recent years, Vadukul's work has been featured in W, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Vogue China, Die Zeit and Town & Country.

In 1985, Vadukul branched into film and television commercial directing 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.

Max has been contributing to Rolling Stone magazine since 1985. Shooting dozens of covers for Rolling Stone magazine including such notable musicians as The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, The Strokes, Kings of Leon & Sting.

He shot the album cover for Sting's first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles & was featured in the 1985 Documentary Bring on the Night (film) in which he can be seen photographing Sting in the streets of Paris.

In 2007, Vadukul shot the inlay photographs for Paul McCartney's album Memory Almost Full.

The New Yorker

From 1996 to 2000 Max was The New Yorker's staff photographer, a title previously occupied by Richard Avedon. It was during his time at The New Yorker,[5] where he took his famed portrait of Mother Teresa. He photographed many prominent figures for The New Yorker including the 1997 India issue featuring Salman Rushdie. As well as 22 Nobel laureates at once.

W Magazine

In 2011, Max collaborated with the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei for W magazine's sixth annual art issue. Shot at Rikers Island in New York City, Vadukul photographed Ai Weiwei's vision of “the conflicts between individuals and authorities—be they economic, cultural, political, or religious. I am using my personal experience to address a condition.” Vadukul would shoot the models dressed in Alexander Wang on location, then show Ai Weiwei the images immediately via Skype, letting Weiwei give instant feedback. The photo's were also inspired by the Tompkins Square Park Riot's in the 1980s where Ai Weiwei had once lived.


In 2000, a documentary called Self-Portrait: Max Vadukul was produced by the National Geographic Channel. The documentary follows Vadukul around Europe & New York on various photo shoots for Vogue and other publications along with his ongoing campaign work for Yohji Yamamoto, attributing Vadukul with "a smart, fast, and wry style borne of a personal history that reads like a novel."


Max had his first US solo gallery show in 2011 at 212 Gallery in Aspen, Colorado titled, "Kinetic Force". In 2011 Max was featured in the group exhibition "Beyond Words: Photography in The New Yorker at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York, NY. He had a group show at The Wapping Project Bankside for "Yohji's Women" in London, England in 2011. Other group exhibitions include: "Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History 1955 to the Present" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York & "Five Decades of Passion, We are the World: Figures & Portraits" at the Fisher Landau Center of Art, Long Island City, NY in 2009.


  • Max: Photographs by Max Vadukul. New York: Callaway Publications, 2000.
  • Crazy Horse. New York: Piccolo Press, 2001.


  1. ^ Bellafante, Ginia. "Front Row", The New York Times, 7 November 2000. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
  2. ^ Galleria Carla Sozzani. "Max Vadukul Art Reportage", "Galleria Carla Sozzani", 6 November 1990. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  3. ^, "Yohji Yamamoto, Martha Rosler, Sada Tangara, Carlos Garaicoa", Kunst Nu, 30 October 2002. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
  4. ^, [1], retrieved 22 April 2014
  5. ^

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