Skateboarding photographers have always had a unique perspective. Their life and lot is dependent on being on the street - seeing things in ways that few others do. Alex Fakso has made a career out of capturing people in inexplicable moments, photographing the people he weaves in-between and walks alongside from their level.
Black and white images of dogs fighting, men too drunk to make it home that ended up sleeping on the street and kids climbing down impossible drainage holes for whatever reason. These are all part of the repertoire of Fakso - a photographer whose CV includes Vice, Rolling Stone, 55DSL and Adidas, but also a lifetime spent out in the field, or the street in this case.
Coming through from skateboarding, Fakso's photographic obsession morphed into something more multidimensional, taking in all aspects of street culture. Well-known subcultures like graffiti also feature heavily, his work shining when the subject is a snapshot of a particular moment in time, his style taking on more of a documentary approach capturing impromptu situations that will never be seen again.
His photographs contain a raw energy, a necessary feature to truly depict the moment. His 2007 book Heavy Metal looks at the graffiti culture, particularly on trains, and has a cinematic quality, conveying more than what we would usually see in this kind of photography - it offers us the perspective of what the subjects might see. We are less onlookers than participators.
The immediacy and adrenaline fuelled rush of the moment is right there in our hands. The transportational effect his photographs have give them a certain menacing grip, our adrenal glands strapped in. When we turn the page we can breath again.
Fast or Die came next for Fakso and was perhaps the body of work that managed to highlight the photographer's ability in a different context - whilst also remaining equally capable of conveying various energies of the urban environment (all the way from the US to Japan).
The work is photojournalistic, capturing the ebb and flow of metropolitan life - each snapshot a moment in someone's life, full of intensity and fleeting joy. No matter the city or subject, the core of the photographs always remain fundamentally human.
Fakso doesn't come across as voyeuristic in his exploration of life on the streets. He is always on his subject's level, taking photographs like they were his friends or as if there wasn't even a lens between them at all.
The images contained in his books are of people we've probably never met. The greatest triumph is that they seem somehow recognisable - maybe not that exact person, but the type of person they are or the specific thing that they're doing. The images are new to us, unique, yet vaguely familiar.
Bringing forth these high energy kinetic scenes is typical of Fakso, the visual language being chaotic, honest, personal and intimate. Within this melange of senses and experience is simply a man with a camera, doing what he loves, capturing what he knows.
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