Skateboarding photographers have always had a unique perspective. Their life and lot is dependent on being on the street - seeing things in ways that no one else does. Alex Fakso has made a career out of capturing people in inexplicable moments.
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.
From skateboarding his photographic obsession morphed into something more multidimensional, taking in all aspects of street culture. Well-known subcultures like graffiti also feature heavily. He really gains his edge when his work has no subjects, but takes on more of a documentary style capturing impromptu moments 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. 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 hold. 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 show that he is more than someone who embeds themselves in a scene, but also 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 subjects level, taking photographs as if they were his friends or as if there wasn't even a lens between them at all.
The images contain 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 something that they're doing. They're new energetic and exciting, but somehow vaguely familiar.
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