“Wait… I’ll show you…. this photo….”, Rafael Fuchs is going through a slightly disorganized pile of framed photographs leaning on the wall in his Bushwick studio. You can end up looking for Rafael’s studio just like a grandma looks for her glasses that are sitting on her nose. The building on Bogart Street clearly and phlegmatically says one word: “fuchs”.
It’s kinda hard to believe that a man who created the brand fuchs, photographed Mike Stipe, Pink, Collin Powell or J.K. Rowling, exhibited his work in Ace Gallery or Ad Hoc, and won numerous photo awards is hanging out on Moore Street, buying organic vegetables in a store near Morgan stop and making amateur videos of Die Antwoord who came to Bushwick for a photo shoot. But yeah, here he is… A bit absent minded, super friendly, curious, inspired by every single detail and excited about life.
“Ah, here it is. So look at it…”, Rafael takes off the bubble wrap paper from a large photograph and sticks it right in front of my nose. I see a guy, doing a victory sign standing on a roof somewhere downtown Manhattan. “Hm”, I am a bit puzzled. It takes a couple of seconds for my brain to recognize everything in the photo. There are the twin towers burning behind the man on the rooftop. I feel cold sweat and shivers running down my spine. I realize how provoking the photograph can be. Rafael explains that some galleries love the photo and some are offended by it. Rafael says that the man in the picture is showing two fingers not for victory, but for two towers being down. What is a better portrayal of New York life than reactions and gestures of a bunch of people randomly hanging out on a rooftop on Bleecker Street, while an event that we couldn’t comprehend is happening at the background?
I look at the American flag casually folded and sitting on a chair in the corner… Rafael Fuchs isn’t about big words, statements and patriotism. Rafael Fuchs, originally from Israel, is living his life the way it comes. Day after day, minute after minute… He consumes what America serves. His book, I am Amerikan, a collection of raw unprocessed photographs taken throughout Rafael’s extensive travels, is evidencing this.
While I am looking at the photographs on the walls of his studio, Rafeal is cooking. I protest that I am not hungry, but Rafael, with his fuchs-branded charm, dismisses me like a kid who doesn’t know what’s good for her. “I studied holistic health. One should eat well. It’s very important to eat roots.”, and I have to admit, Rafael clearly knows what he is doing.
As much as he travels, he always loves to come back to Bushwick, between the warehouses and factories where the home is. He adores the neighborhood, he loves how vast it is, he likes how you meet much fewer people on the streets than in Manhattan, which allows you to get to know them way better.