Dans Illustration of Life (Dewi Lewis Publishing and Light Work, New York, 2003), première partie d'une trilogie sur son histoire familiale et ses origines indiennes, Max Kandhola documente la bataille de son père avec le cancer, et ses derniers moments. Dans les dernières pages du livre, trois photographies montrent les cendres du père. Dans la tradition Punjabi, les cendres sont jetées dans l'eau courante pour réintroduire le mort dans la vie.
''His body was rejecting everything - the chemotherapy and the fluid that was pumped inside his body. One thing I noticed was the amount of debris there was - things dropping off - hair, blood, tissues, needles, urine samples... I asked the nurses to collect and keep bags of them, knowing I could photograph them later. It was natural to do that, because you could see all these bumps and marks appearing on his torso externally, and yet the cancer was internal.’
He resisted photographing his father directly until, finally, things got worse. Using a macro lens he closely documented parts of his body that were constantly touched by his family: the hair they stroked, the torso they massaged, the ear in which they whispered comfort. ‘I couldn’t photograph his mind, but I think the Eyes pictures were the closest that I could get to him. So much happens when you are in the process of making a photograph and it was only afterwards when I was looking at the contacts that I realised he was trying to adjust his eyes to look into the lens, and that by the fourth picture he does.
Sources: http://we-english.co.uk/blog/?p=791, http://www.picture-box.com/max1.html