“I went out onto the street because I like the street, I like the sound of the street, I like the people of the street….the weird people.”
 - Barabakaa

When one hears Barabakaa, the Russian photographer tell how he came to his twin passions of skateboarding and photography, it is tracked with snapshots of his life as a teenager in the concrete streets of Moscow. Before the camera became a regular fixture in his hand, he was witnessing, freeze-framing and being ‘sparked’  already in his mind, by what he saw in the asphalt jungle which he would wander with his young gang of friends. “I remember precisely seeing a guy who jumped off a metal stage on a skateboard. It was really shocking to me….that was how skateboarding entered my life”.

It was a another chance encounter spying a discarded Kiev-19 camera in a garbage can, that led him to capture the constant motion of the streets - “I was fascinated by being able to freeze a moment by pressing just one single button.” His fascination drove him to study the technicalities and history of photography, but his lens remained poised at the pavements of his youth and the misfits who made it their home.

Barabakaa’s images are a melange of the people he encounters in the outskirts of the urban landscapes of his homeland and the landscapes themselves. But they also speak of the secret languages between communities - photographs of the complex symbolism of Russian criminal tattoos sit alongside the visual vernacular of skateboarding tricks. His images translating to its audience, the slang of ex-soviet streets. 

Text by Shana Chandra | S/TUDIO