Guest Blogger: Photographer Max McClure

Topic: Documenting a Project
Guest Blogger: Max McClure
Freelance Photographer

Max McClure is a freelance photographer specialising in the provision of photographic services for private and public Arts Commissioners internationally. Max also applies his expertise in documenting the Arts to a range of parallel services including Luxury Product and Events photography, as well as Consultancy.


Q) Why is it important to document and create a legacy for a project?

A) Documentation instantly allows a project to reach a much broader number of people than those experiencing it first hand. Having this material can also assist in determining a project’s overall success and influence, allowing for informed conclusions to be made later on down the line. Documenting a project is also a key way to show that certain criteria were adhered to throughout, especially in light of sustained funding and the impact on future projects.

Q) What would be your top tips for someone documenting a project themselves?

A) People view photographic images in a certain way, which is affected by where and how the images are viewed, the type of imagery directly and indirectly portrayed, and the cultural and sociological background of the viewer. So you really need to understand what the project is hoping to achieve and who the intended market or audience are. From here, you can usually determine the key moment(s) that best communicates the story as intended.

Q) What is the best way to archive project documentation (online blog/ website, physical portfolio etc.)?

A) I think it’s got to be online via website and blogs because this is where most people now go to find information. Remember therefore to backup everything in an appropriate way such as with robust hard-drives and cloud storage.

Q) Do you always do post-production editing (on In Design, Photoshop etc.)?

A) Everything I shoot needs to be processed because I use an uncompressed digital format that isn’t immediately transferrable (unless you have the specific software), but allows for optimal results. I also like to process my own photographs in the same way as developing film in a darkroom, it gives you control over the final outcome, which of course is an integral part of the story telling process. I use Adobe Photoshop with Camera Raw to process my work because it’s what I learned to use at university, and I think for photographers working in digital it’s by far the most comprehensive cross platform photo editing tool on the market.

Q) What forms of documentation do you think are most successful (interviewing, photographs, videos)?

A) Photos are number one because they can communicate certain truths to an audience immediately, with no language restrictions. Video, audio recording and written format come second for me.

Q) Do you think all aspects of a project should be given equal weighting through documentation (install, preview night etc.) or that there should be more focussed elements?

A) No, I don’t think it is always necessary, however on-going documentation can be a key way to show the development of a project and the different directions it may have taken. This can be important when it comes to funding and public engagement. The documentation process isn’t just there to capture the final outcome, it’s also there to show the development throughout a project and to provide a means of reflection or revising later on. However I don’t think it is entirely necessary to document a project throughout, giving equal worth to each phase because I think that eventually everything reduces down to a single image. If you can work out how you want a project to be viewed in the future, put emphasis on documenting that moment or series of moments.

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Contact email:

Interviewer: Nicol Phillips (Gallery Spaces Coordinator) *If you would like to put on a creative project in our Christmas Steps Gallery please contact Nicol on



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