Photographer Stacy Kranitz recently journeyed to Skatopia, a famed 88 acre skate park/commune in Ohio which was founded in 1995, documented in the 2010 film of the same name, and once described by writer Kevin Duffel as “a demented mess that meets halfway between an anarchistic Mad Maxian Thunderdome and a utopian skateboard society.”
Of the project, Kranitz said:
For this project I have established a center of study to focus my gaze on a specific group of young men that I have befriended at a dystopian compound in Ohio.
I came to Skatopia searching for displays of violence that function as catharsis, as a part of a larger body of work that explores subcultures that self-consciously dramatize violence through rituals, habits, and pastimes. In performing these behaviors in front of the camera, the participants implicate the photographer and viewer as consumers of that violence. This is where my work is the most comfortable, not as documentation but rather as an exploration of the ethical boundaries of representation and the subversion of the photographer’s “role”.
The photographs culminate as an unwieldy archive. I think maybe if I have enough evidence that violence can function as an emotional release I can validate behvior that might at first glance seem unbecoming.