The Fourth Wall is Brussels-based photographer Max Pinckers recent self-published book. The title refers to the imaginary “wall” at the front of a theater stage through which the audience sees the story unfold. Pinckers incorporates this idea into a set of images that exist between the real and the fictional. Realized in Mumbai, India—where the love for cinema is prolific—Pinckers photographs streets lit to look as film locations along with a few real Indian movie sets. The people appearing in the photos are passers by, people who happened to be there and were willing to act for him.
The photos are convincing—it’s hard to tell if what we’re seeing is real or staged. Perhaps this is achieved through Pinckers’ documentary approach combined with his staging and directing of the scene. Throughout the book, the photos mix with excerpts from local newspapers, reinforcing that blurry line between life and movie. The viewing experience becomes somewhat open-ended, says Pinckers, “The Fourth Wall does not have an introduction text and therefore it leaves enough room for the reader to construct his own interpretations. By combining a number of different images together in the book, the viewer is lead in a certain direction but without stipulating a specific story line.”