In short, he's the kind of creative who’s as much in love with the hands-on process of book making and analogue photography as he is with the finished product. He admits, though, that repetitive book binding, signing and numbering can get “pretty boring”—in which case, naturally, he makes a video.

Personal and commissioned photography projects are run out of a North-East London studio, which is also the base for his independent publishing company, Bemojake. Their website again testifies that—even when publishing digitally—Maxwell wishes the medium was paper:

'My desire for the physical object nibbles at my brain when I look at my computer screen […] I enjoy the beauty of print media.'

Nevertheless, the details of production in any medium won’t escape him. He’ll painstakingly loupe through negative files and Maquettes (handmade test books), or inspect his images’ rendering on different computer displays. For him, the secret to perfecting his craft is going back to tangible basics:

'If you want to publish books it’s a good idea to learn the physical entity of a book, how it actually works as printed matter. Learn how to hand make a book from scratch. The essential tools are PVA glue, a bone folder, needle & thread, awl, some 2.5mm board and paper.'

When not winning awards for his publications, like The Guardian’s Best Photography Book of the Year 2010, Maxwell shoots photos. So many in fact that for the last eight years he’s published a photography blog called “Absolute Present”, a monthly exposé of everyday moments captured in time that contribute to his selfhood.

Another way to discover Maxwell’s selfhood is by nosing around his top drawer. Items range from the innovative (a blacked out negative loupe now used as a focusing loupe), to the borrowed (Pantone Colour chart), to the nostalgic:

'The tool I’ve had the longest is this card creasing device. It was actually hand made by my Dad when he was teaching D&T about 15-20 years ago. It’s a simple piece of equipment but very useful and effective.'

Something else that had us creasing was Maxwell’s ‘Man & Van’ service, which he documents on Instagram. He also supports Charlton Athletic and tweets a bit for Bemojake.

If you want to peek at Maxwell’s recent publishing work, check out his collaboration with model-cum-photographer, Coco Young, in the monograph, Vanity.

What about your top drawer? Have a rummage, snap a photo, and tweet it or post it to us. We'll slide it in here.


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