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Max Kandhola

Max Kandhola

Principal Lecturer

Visual Communication

Staff Group(s)


Max Kandhola is a Principal Lecturer and researcher at NTU he teaches across theory and practice at undergraduate and post graduate courses and welcomes proposals from potential PhD students.

Career overview

Max is a British Punjabi Sikh, a renowned fine art photographer, he has published 4 monographs and has exhibited his photographic work internationally, engaging in complex visual stories and the politics of race and representation. View his Instagram here.

Max studied photography at Bournville College of Art, (Birmingham England) under the guidance of John Hodgetts followed by a First Class BA Hons Degree in Photography at University of Wolverhampton (Polytechnic), under the tutelage of social documentary photographer Nick Hedges.

He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and for 21 years Max has taught on the BA Hons Photography course at Nottingham Trent University, 10 years as a senior lecturer and 11 years as Principal Lecturer and Course Leader responsible for the academic leadership, the design, delivery and content of the curriculum. Working as a fine art photographer within a research and pedagogic context Max has contributed towards each of Nottingham Trent Universities Research Assessment Exercise from 1998 for RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) and REF (Research Excellence Framework).

In his formative photography career Max worked from his studio in Digbeth, Birmingham, making photographic work that challenged notions of race, identity and representation, selling photographs directly to independent collectors, commissioners and art buyers. From 1993- 2000 Kandhola shared a studio with contemporary Jewellery designer Sara Preisler (Sara Preisler England) at the Custard Factory, and with further collaborations with fashion designers in opening the concept space, The Goate Gallery (1992-1995) in central Birmingham due to the lack of Black and Asian representation within photography. Max was on the board of advisors for Seeing The Light and Rhubarb Rhubarb photography agency founded by the inspirational Rhonda Wilson MBE.

From 1998-2001 Max Kandhola was represented by Barbara Greene Fine Art in Chelsea New York. He was the recipient of the prestigious Light Work Artist in Residency (AIR) based in Syracuse New York in 1996 supported by Autograph and awarded another AIR in 2002 Every year Light Work invites between twelve and fifteen artists to participate in their AIR programme at Syracuse University to devote one month towards the development of ongoing or new work.

Max Kandhola is a member of FACE Formed to challenge the lack of Black and Brown academics in the system, which directly impacts the experience of all young creatives but especially Black and Brown students, FACE demands acknowledgement of the contribution of Black culture and creativity, to history, society and to fashion.

Max Kandhola has published 4 monographs

The Aura of Boxing, Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2014, on boxing the gym and boxing methodology.

An extended essay on The Aura of Boxing, titled 'To Document The Methodology of The Pugilistic Artisan' by Max Kandhola is published by New Art Exchange Nottingham, exhibition catalogue. ISBN 978-0-9560253.

Flatland A Landscape of Punjab, Dewi Lewis Publishing 2007, documenting the Punjabi diasporic landscape, essays by Alka Panda and Max Kandhola

Illustration of Life, Lightwork Syracuse NY, Impressions Gallery Bradford & Dewi Lewis Publishing 2003, a visual commentary on his father’s death from cancer and Sikh rituals of death and dying, with essays by Mark Sealy, Anne McNeil and Max Kandhola.

Autograph Monograph series, Autograph ABP 1996, a collection of photographic work responding to identity and race.

Max has exhibited and published his work internationally, his photography held in major public and private collections in England, Europe, America and India, including, The Deutsche Bank Collection and Government Art Collection UK and represented by PhotoInk, Delhi, India.

His most recent exhibitions include The Last Seven Words of Christ in collaboration with St Marks Church In The Bowery, New York, Feb- March 2020 and ‘u fucking paki’ FotoFest 2018 Biennial: India/Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art, Houston, Texas, United States, 10 March - 22 April 2018.

Within a mentoring role, Max Kandhola has successfully supported many young artist/photographers careers and aspirations through specific personal mentoring; portfolio development, editorial advice for direct outcome towards publication, exhibition and support for business strategic development within arts and photography.

Research areas

Max Kandhola’s photographic research is used within a cultural discourse, critically observing and questioning the complexity and relationship of the human condition and the politics of representation. His research over the years has dealt with issues of Black and Asian representation; Death and Dying; Faith; Land and Landscape; The Diaspora; and Cultures of British Boxing.

Within a research context, Max welcomes proposals from potential PhD students, who want to engage in complex visual photographic strategies informed by critical discourse and traditional practices around the following themes.

Race and Identity

Death and Dying

The Landscape

Faith and Belief A Visual theological representation

Photographic cultural discourse Society and Sport.

Please look at our website for research bursaries.

External activity

Scholarly activity validation of programmes

2018 Griffith College in Dublin BA Hons Journalism and Photography Validation

2017 Leeds Trinity University Validation Panel BA Hons Photography

2017 Hull College Revalidation Panel BA Hons Photography

2016 Validation panel BA Hons Photography and BA Hons Fine Art, Leeds College of Art

2009-2012 BA Hons Photography; Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin
2010-2012 BA Hons Photography, Faculty of Science, Technology and Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire
2010 BA Hons Photography Leeds College of Art, Open University, Re-Validation panel
2009 BA Hons Photography; Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin
2008-2009 BA Hons Photography, Faculty of Science, Technology and Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire

External academic and professional activity

2019 Oct/Nov Erasmus Mobility Grant travel to Slovakia Bratislava Arts and Design Academy & OFF Bratislava

2018 March/April  Huston Fotofest exhibition 'u fucking paki' in discussion with Sunil Gupta 2018

2007 – 2010 AHRC Peer Review College
2009 - Sept East Midlands Creative Awards Panel
2009 - 2011 Board Member, Rhubarb-Rhubarb

2008 - 2010 Board of Trustees Pavilion, Leeds
2007 - 2008 Pavilion Bursary Award Judging panel member and mentor to the five award-winning artists for the duration of the bursary award
2007 - Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Open Award judging panel
2005 - 2007 Board member Pavilion
2006 - 2009 Portfolio Review Panel, November Month of Photography FOTOFO, Bratislava, Slovakia
2005 - 2006 Mentor, Creative Alliance and Seeing The Light Agency
2004 - present Mentor to emerging artists, portfolio and business development strategies , bid/fund writing

Student Awards

2013 AHRC Postgraduate scheme student MA grant awarded to Mahtab Hussain (British Pakistani living in contemporary western society)

2007 AHRC Postgraduate scheme student MA grant awarded to Sally Ashton (Military barracks and memory)

2010 – ongoing award each year New Art Exchange Nottingham NAE each year award  3-4 photography students to exhibit in their central gallery, as part of the summer degree shows

2009 – ongoing award each year Student Portfolio and Bursary Award in collaboration with Genesis Imaging London and Djanogly Art Gallery Nottingham. The ward has been presented to over 34 photography students since 2009

Sponsors and collaborators


Full list of publications can be found by clicking on 'go to publications' link above.

Selected Publications:

KANDHOLA, M., & DIETSCHY,N,. 2020. “The Figure of Christ in Contemporary Photography”, Reaktion books April 2020), authored by Dietschy.

KANDHOLA, M., 2018. 'u fucking Paki'. In: S. EVANS and S. GUPTA, eds., India: contemporary photographic and new media art. Amsterdam: Schilt Publishing.ISBN 9789053309001

KANDHOLA, M., 2018. 'u fucking Paki'. In: Fotofest 2018 biennial catalogue. Amsterdam: Schilt Publishing. ISBN 9789053309131

KANDHOLA, M., 2016. The last seven words of Christ. In: Le Christ au miroir de la photographie contemporaine. Neuchâtel: Editions Alphil-Presses universitaires suisses. ISBN 9782889300884

KANDHOLA, M., and KIDD, M., 2014. The Aura of Boxing, New Art Exchange Nottingham, exhibition catalogue. ISBN 978-0-9560253.

KANDHOLA,M.,2013.The Aura of Boxing, 1st edition,Stockport:Dewi Lewis Publishing.

KANDHOLA, M., 2011-2012. The Last Seven Words of Christ, ‘Wounding The Black Male' (exhibitions),CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, USA (14 July - 25 August 2012); Light Work Syracuse, New York (17 January-31 May 2012); TCNJ College of New Jersey Art Gallery, New Jersey (16 March-20 April 2011).

KANDHOLA,M., 2007.Flatland A landscape of Punjab .Stockport:Dewi Lewis Publishing.

DOWNEY,A. & KANDHOLA,M.,2006.The Living is Easy: International Contemporary Photography [catalogue of an exhibition held at Flowers East Gallery, London,August- September,2006]. London:Flowers East.

KANDHOLA, M., 2005. Illustration of life. Bratislava, Slovakia: Galeria Medium. ISBN 8088675812

KANDHOLA, M., 2005. On dying. Bratislava, Slovakia: Fotofo. ISBN 8085739437

KANDHOLA, M. and TULLOCH, C., 2004. Black style. London: Victoria & Albert Museum Publications. ISBN 1851774246

KANDHOLA, M., 2003. Illustration of life. 1st edition,Stockport:Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing, Impressions Gallery Bradford and Lightwork Syracuse NY.. ISBN 0935445285

KANDHOLA, M., 2002. Illustration of life. Syracuse, New York: Light Work. ISBN 0935445277

KANDHOLA, M., 2001. Fluid [Catalogue of an exhibition held at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, September, 2001]. Wolverhampton: Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

KANDHOLA, M. and SEALY, M., 1995. Peter Max Kandhola: monograph. London: Autograph ABP (Association of Black Publishers). ISBN 1899282025

Selected Exhibitions

KANDHOLA, M., 2020 The Last Seven Words of Christ. St Marks Church In The Bowery New York. 26th Feb – 9th April 2020

KANDHOLA, M., 2019 April Shifting Identities, Group exhibition Stories The Government Art Collection (GAC) marking the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. Exploring themes that connect to a sense of identity and place are paintings, sculptures, photographic works and prints related to Commonwealth cultural identities. Spanning nearly 80 years of art, the show features works by sixteen artists:

KANDHOLA, M., 2018. 'u fucking paki'. FotoFest 2018 Biennial: India/Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art, Houston, Texas, United States, 10 March - 22 April 2018.

KANDHOLA, M., 2014. Max Kandhola: The aura of boxing - the colour series. Rich Mix, London, 6-30 March 2014.

KANDHOLA, M., 2014. Max Kandhola: The aura of boxing - the black and white series. New Art Exchange, Nottingham, 1 February - 20 April 2014.

KANDHOLA, M., 2014. Max Kandhola: The aura of boxing - the contact sheets. Format/Quad, Chocolate Factory, Derby, 29 March - 19 April 2014.

KANDHOLA, M., 2013. The Last Seven Words of Christ & The Gaze I-VII. The Church of St. Martin's, Bullring, Birmingham, 13 March - 15 April 2013.

KANDHOLA, M., 2012. The Last Seven Words of Christ. St. Mary’s Church, Lace Market, Nottingham, 6 – 30 April 2012. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., JACKSON, C. and CUNNINGHAM, S., 2012. Wounding the Black Male. CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, 2012. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., JACKSON, C. and CUNNINGHAM, S., 2012. Wounding the Black Male. Robert B. Mensciel Gallery, LightWork, Syracuse, NY, USA, 2012.[Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., JACKSON, C. and CUNNINGHAM, S., 2011. Wounding the Black Male. TCNJ Art Gallery, Ewing, NJ, USA, March 2011.[Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2010. Flatlands: a landscape of Punjab. Photographs & installation of paintings, drawings and related works. Impressions Gallery, Bradford, April - June 2010. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2009. Field Notes & Explorations (Flatland a Landscape of Punjab). Central European House of Photography, Bratislava, Slovakia, 14 May–7 June 2009. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2009. Flatlands: a landscape of Punjab & illustration of life, (installation). PhotoInk, Delhi, September - October 2009.[Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2008. [Group exhibition representing the UK at:] Pingyao International Photo Festival China, September 2008. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2007. Flatland: a landscape of Punjab. Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside, University of Nottingham, September - November, 2007.[Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2007. Luminous. Rhubarb-Rhubarb, Birmingham, July 2007 [a collaboration]. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2007. The alchemy of shadows. Third Lianzhou International Photography Festival, December 2007. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2006. British black style [group exhibition]. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 06 June, 2006 - 06 September, 2006.[Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2006. Luminous [Group exhibition]. Hotel d'Arlatan, Les Rencontres d'Arles, France, July - September, 2006. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2006. The diver series [Luminous group exhibition]. Hotel d'Arlatan, Les Rencontres d'Arles, France, July - September, 2006.[Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2006. The living is easy: international contemporary photography [Group exhibition of works from 'The diver series', 1990 - 2000.] Flowers East, August, 2006. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2005. On dying (Illustration of life). Month of Photography Festival (mesiac fotografie), T-Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia, November 11, 2005. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2004. Illustration of life. Millais Gallery, Southampton Institute, Southampton, June - August, 2004. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2004. Illustration of life. Q Arts Gallery, Derby, January - February, 2004. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2003. Illustration of life. Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, November - December, 2003. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2003. Illustration of life. Impressions Gallery, York, April - May, 2003. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2002. Illustration of life. Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, Syracuse, New York, August - October, 2002. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2001. Fluid [Group exhibition]. Wolverhampton Art Gallery, September - November, 2001. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2001. Just another day [Group exhibition]. Ffotogallery, Cardiff, June - July, 2001. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2001. Mesiac fotografie/month of photography [group exhibition]. Galleria Medium Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia, October - November, 2001. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2001. Ritual and religion [Group exhibition]. Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, Schine Student Center, Syracuse University, New York, August, 2001 - February, 2002. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2001. Something old something new [Group exhibition]. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, May - June, 2001. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 2001. Vollbart, langes haar... das bildnis Jesu Christi in der fotografie (Images of Christ as portrayed in photography spanning 1839 to contemporary day) [International group exhibition showing works from 'The seven words']. Leinwandhaus, Frankfurt, June - Aug. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 1999. Arcs, variation in flight. Fine Art Gallery, New York, December, 1999 - January, 2000. [Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 1998. Death and the illustration of life. Lighthouse Media Gallery, Wolverhampton, November, 1998 - January, 1999.[Show/Exhibition]

KANDHOLA, M., 1998. The seven words and selected photographic works. Photofusion Gallery, London, January - March, 1998. [Show/Exhibition]

Digital Media

KANDHOLA, M., 2016. Max Kandhola: oral history interview for the British Library 'Oral history of British photography'. [Digital or Visual Media]

KANDHOLA, M., 2014. The aura of boxing: Max Kandhola in conversation with Melanie Kidd NAE director of programmes. [Digital or Visual Media]

See all of Max Kandhola's publications...

Press expertise

Photography; Photography to reflect on death and dying; Photography of urban and rural Landscapes; Photography and faith; Photography exploring British boxing used as a metaphor to discuss society and cultures; Photography and the Punjabi diaspora in England.