Patrick Doyle was a Scottish musician treasured or his percussion abilities in Veronica Falls and his solo projects Boys Forever and Basic Plumbing. Outside of these musical abilities, friends cherished his warmth. Sadly, Patrick passed away this year, leaving behind what Malcom Jack noted in the Guardian as “a legacy of wit, whimsy and Fireman Sam lunchboxes.”
Robin Silas Christian, photographer and founder of affordable artist book publishers Makina, was contacted by Patrick earlier this year asking for some help editing a photography project he was working on. Following his death, Robin and Patrick’s former bandmate Marion Herbain decided to complete and publish the publication, titled Max.
“When I first saw these photographs of Patrick’s husband Max I was struck by their rich colours and the power they had as a combined series,” Robin tells It’s Nice That. Each photograph, unposed and snapshot-like, has the ability to communicate that joy of being in a relationship, whether it be the simplicity of just driving around next to someone, or larking around at home. “Despite the warmth and good humour in the pictures, I knew they were marked by loss and that Patrick had been editing them into a book as a tribute to Max after his death in 2017,” Robin continues.
Collating the book together following Patrick’s death was understandably a difficult process for Robin and Marion for obvious reasons, but also logistically too. “The project was difficult because we only had a PDF and low res scans,” the publisher explains. “But, with Marion’s support and the help of Patrick’s friends we were able to trace most of the originals.” With the photographs tracked down, the pair then worked to complete the book as Patrick, in his tribute to his husband, would have wanted. “Above all we were determined to keep the finished book as close to Patrick’s original vision as we could do,” also adding stills from a film Patrick made for Basic Plumbing on the last few pages. “The finished product is a colourful large format paperback with a glossy cover and a loop binding.”
Each of the photographs featured in Max provides a glimpse into the couple’s life together, largely taken in their home in Los Angeles, compiling in a celebration of “gay intimacy and sexuality, and is a poignant look at the lives of two beloved people who are gone too soon.”
In the book’s design, Patrick’s photographs are nestled between stories “and as friends of Patrick, who miss him dearly, we both got a real sense of his warmth and good humour within these images,” adds Robin. “There is a strong feeling of a range of shared emotions in the work – and despite Patrick not being pictured in the work he is present and this feels very much like an exchange. I hope that we can gain some sense of what they had that was special and that this is emphasised by Patrick’s introduction text,” kept as Patrick wrote it reading: “I looked out of the window on Thursday morning and it was raining. Max didn’t like to drive in the rain, because he said that people in LA didn’t know how. It was an excuse I accepted gladly, knowing that staying home with all day would be more fun that any road trip. So now when it rains, I think of those days I spent with Max, hiding indoors. Listening to records, running to steal coffee creamers from the 7-Eleven, or watching him dance around the living room in his underwear. And maybe then, the rain won’t seem so bad.”
Launched earlier this year at The White Cubicle Toilet Gallery with an exhibition of the photographs, all proceeds of the publication are in support of the LA LGBT Center who supported Patrick. While the book is already sold out from Makina directly, you can purchase Max from Monorail and Good Press in Glasgow, Ooga Booga in LA and Printed Matter in NYC.
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