Toxic masculinity, sexuality, gender and racial inequality: inside the portfolio of fashion photographer Max Hirschberger
- Bryony Stone
- 14 May 2018
San Francisco-born Max Hirschberger is a photographer who can be found working in the world of fashion, lensing editorials for the likes of V Magazine, King Kong, Document Journal, Interview magazine and looks for Saint Laurent.
After studying acting in the UK, Max went on to attend Parsons The New School for Design where he earned a BFA in photography with honours in 2016. In the years since, Max has been cutting his teeth in the uncertain world of freelance work. “Transitioning out of higher education into freelancing has been exciting, but no doubt a challenge at times,” Max explains. “There’s a lot of hustling, taking as many meetings as possible, following up and pushing for opportunities, while taking money jobs to pay bills and still making personal work to ground myself and my photography practice.”
In a notoriously exclusive industry, Max searches for authenticity in his image-making.“My work is reflective of a push for inclusivity and diversity—both within and outside the fashion industry. Group dynamics and bonds between individuals based on shared or constructed identities are significantly represented throughout much of my work.”
In a post-MeToo era, Max highlights the need for a safe, inclusive working conditions for models going forward. “I primarily photograph in studio, often including constructed environments. This allows me to explore themes and develop characters in a controlled space, magnifying the intent and quality of my images. It’s very important for me to create a safe space on set for all involved, especially models. Once I can establish a connection with my subject, the work inherently becomes more authentic.”
Recently, Max has been exploring political changes in government and within the fashion industry. “The images I’ve chosen to include in this interview are an exploration of themes such as toxic masculinity, sexuality and gender and racial inequality, which are integral issues my complete body of work. These themes inform my interest in constructing evocative photographs that raise larger questions within the current cultural climate,” he says. With a clear knack for working with some of the industry’s most demanding models — kids — Max Hirschberger is a young talent in ascendancy.
About the Author
Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.