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Alexa Fahlman loves the ordinariness and typicality of places

Alexa Fahlman Vancouver C41magazine Photography 20

Alexa Fahlman is a writer, editor, and photographer based in Vancouver–on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Photography, for Alexa, is a grounding practice, which helps her translate her intangible experiences into physical fragments that can be collectively felt and understood. Her work is concerned with the semantics of quotidian details and centres around her personal, cultural, and everyday experiences.

About Vancouver – words by Alexa Fahlman:

My series Vancouver was almost accidental in the sense that it was less of an intentional project, and more so, a compilation of photographs that were taken while I was trying to reintegrate myself back into the city. After having lived in England for three years, I realized what I missed most from home were the typical and ordinary aspects of my environment that saw my cultures visually converge. Much of my identity as a half Canadian-Cantonese woman has been mediated through these spaces in Vancouver.

My father was the first person to really introduce me to film photography. When I was younger, my sister and I would always wait impatiently for him to set the aperture and shutter speed on his Hasselblad for our family photos. I’ve become a little more patient since then, and as I’ve gotten older, these Western traditions of photography have given me the technicalities needed to express, and reconcile with, the duality of my identity; I carry his old Leica with me, while the deeper meanings behind my photographs are often very Chinese.

Photography acts as a way for me to process my own diasporic experiences and clutch onto the liminal, changing moments in my life. I think this is a universal feeling for many photographers, who, regardless of their contexts, see the potential in generic objects as vessels for capturing meaning and memories. The seemingly insignificant objects in this series–a thank you bag, my auntie’s neighbourhood, or my partner’s hair on the floor of Richard’s Beauty Salon–all speak to very ordinary moments of being that I’m not ready to forget.

Time to read
1 min
Words by
Staff
Published on
23 July 2021
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The aim of a shop is to collect cool stuff.
Ours is to gather the coolest.