Photography Josh Kern

‘fuck me’ is a photographic ode to friendship

German photographer Josh Kern shoots skaters, lovers, and self-portraits to feel less alone.

by Juule Kay
|
Jan 4 2019, 3:33pm

Photography Josh Kern

This article originally appeared on i-D Germany.

Sometimes you feel like you’re not part of this so called life. As if you’re not meant to be here. The world, however, continues to revolve and doesn’t care if you feel stuck in your own body and thoughts. This is exactly how Josh Kern felt before he decided to dive deep into photography and publish his very own visual diary, Fuck Me.

It’s all about friendship, young love, and the rollercoaster of emotions you can’t figure out yet. Heads hanging over toilets, affectionate scrapping, analogue self portraits in the mirror, a new haircut by friends (because let’s be honest, we’re always broke AF), loads of poetry, and an endless feeling of freedom. So endless and beautiful it almost hurts. Fuck Me is an ode to your inner child. Full of memories of the years that made you the person you are today. But sometimes appearances can be deceptive and all we build is castles in the air.

“It seems a bit egoistic and narcissistic to me,” Josh, who studies photography in Dortmund, Germany, confesses. “The book refers completely to me, even though I take photos of my friends most of the time.” We do get his point, there’s a lot of pictures of Josh hiding behind his camera, but it’s only one side of the story. The 25 year old not only helps himself, but all the people out there, who sometimes feel like the world has no place to hide for them.

To i-D, he explained why photography is a self-therapy not only Josh profits from, and what everyone should do next time a wave of sadness hits hard again.

Fuck Me Josh Kern

Tell us how everything started.
I discovered photography through skateboarding as an outlet. I don’t like to stage things, I do the complete opposite: I portray what actually happened. I want to show people how I feel deep inside and to do so, I take photos of my surroundings.

Was this the reason for your book, to make public what lies underneath the surface?

Definitely. My professor always told me the more personal the better. The more you feel embarrassed about it, the more interesting it is in the end. I tried to put all the things in the book I felt really uncomfortable with.

Fuck Me Josh Kern

Sometimes it’s exactly these things you don’t see everywhere, but can identify with on so many levels .
Most of the fears no one talks about, but actually everyone feels them. You can say it’s stupid what I do, but not that it’s wrong. It’s only my truth. I was and still do struggle with myself. It’s stupid to tie it up to one word but I have a social phobia, which means I get into a state of panic among people I don’t feel completely comfortable with. There was even a time I was only at home until I decided to go to a clinic. After that, I felt so much better and started to concentrate more on my photography. I felt free and understood and did realize it’s OK to be me.

Fuck Me Josh Kern

Who are the people in your photos?
The people I surround myself with. The ones who are important to me and I like to spend time with. They are actually the only ones I feel comfortable with. It’s hard for me to chill with friends of friends. Since I started skateboarding I have the same five friends, who you can all see in the book.

Why did you decide to name it Fuck Me ?
I scribbled both words in my notes over and over again, even though I didn’t know why. In the beginning, I wasn’t really convinced to call the book like this because it felt way too personal, but it actually reflects the self-destructiveness you see in it. On the one hand Fuck me can also mean something positive, on the other it resembles the feeling of “Fuck it, I just do it!”

Fuck Me Josh Kern

On one of your pictures it says “words do not express feelings very well.” What role does poetry play in your work?
When I write down words, I don’t think about the fact how they complete each other or the picture in the end. It helps me so much to write down my thoughts, when I don’t know what’s wrong with me. If I feel bad, I write about it. My mind seems clearer afterwards. There’s this one poem of Charles Bukowski called “Blue Bird”. He writes about a bird in his heart that only comes out at night, when he’s drunk. I do have the same kind of feeling. There’s something I usually don’t dare to show but through my notes and photos it finds a way to come out.

@_kjosh

Fuck Me Josh Kern
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Fuck Me Josh Kern
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Josh Kern Fuck Me
Josh Kern Fuck Me

This article originally appeared on i-D Germany.