Behind the camera of Björn Lexius

Who’s Björn Lexius?

Björn’s a strange guy I guess. I know him since 1977. Besides photography and cycling he’s in love with vegan food, punk rock / hard core music and travelling. He loves to explore the world. Oh, right, he’s living in one of the best cities in Germany, Hamburg. Ah, forget about it, it’s THE best one in Germany. He’s living with his photography.

How did you start with the photography?

The first camera that is really worth talking about is one a friend handed to me sometime around 2007/2008 I think it was. I travelled to London and he thought I should take it with me. I was hooked from that point, funny thing on top is that on the same trip I also got psyched on fixed gear bikes as well, at least I think it was the same one. Some messenger friends told me to try it. By that time I was very much in love with my road bike and didn’t understand why people would ride fixed, well, it took ten minutes, then I knew.

How did you get into fixed gear races? What do you try to transmit/show with your race photos?

I started racing in Alleycats myself a few years ago, I loved the messenger community. Having grown up in the punk and hardcore scene I saw and felt similarities to it. The people taking part in these races often were misfits and outcasts. They didn’t care about any rules and just wanted to have fun. As for fixed gear races in the way of Red Hook Crit I just started shooting them about a year ago-. The first RHC I shot was Barcelona 2014. A friend of mine, Johanna Jahnke, was participating and I decided quite last minute to travel to Barcelona as well as I wanted some days off work. I only brought a small camera, no real working gear. I remember I had much fun shooting the documentary as again it was similar to shooting punk/hard core shows for example. It was energetic, people got psyched, and again, misfits and outcasts. I felt like I belonged to.

What I try to show in my images is the energy, the emotions, the various characters racing, also the places where these races take part. I want the images to be authentic, to be raw. One day somebody told me that one can feel that he’s shot from within the race and not all photographers can show up that. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, I’m happy with that.

You have become one of the most wanted photographers of the RHC. Did you expect that some years ago? Any other RHC photographer that you admire?

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m one of the most wanted photographers but maybe… yes, I think people get to know my work slowly. You know, I like a little bit of understatement. I prefer that a lot to all these “hey look how cool I am, cause I’m…”-people. I’ve been shooting the RHC for only 1.5 years now and I had the luck of being booked by teams such as Aventon, IRD Modena, or Affinity. I’m psyched on next year’s season and I hope I can make it out to as many of the races as possible. I’d also love to visit other cities and hang out with riders and photographers.

One of the nicest photographers around RHC for me definitely is my buddy Jason Sellers and you should definitely check his work.  And of course you shouldn’t miss the amazing work of Marshall Kappel.

Any favourite subject? And how can you define your style?

That’s a tough one. I can’t really tell if I do have a favourite subject. I love to shoot in black and white but sometimes teams and sponsors look for coloured images. I think I do have a documentary approach to my pictures; I try to get in very close with the action and the people around yet deciding from time to time not to shoot an image if I think everybody else would shoot this just to show tough action and accidents.

What’s the most difficult part of being photographer?

Well, for me it’s several things. It’s getting your shit together, keeping finances stable, your gear working. The hardest part for me is time management. In the summer I mostly make money from shooting weddings (yes, wow, I do, but check it out at www.hafenliebe-weddingphotography.com) and that takes most of my summer away from me and my friends. On top of all that you have to keep networking all the time, you have to continue shooting to get better and you have to look out for job opportunities. I think there are so many good photographers out there right now so you have to keep working on your craft.

What’s your favourite camera to work?

I’m shooting a Canon 5D Mark III right now. For cycling I’d love to work with a Canon 1DX as the 5D sometimes is too slow. I remember shooting for the 2016 catalogue for German brand Bergamont and I sometimes missed especially the one frame I wanted as the shutter was too slow and so the riders had to go up the mountain and ride again and again. But right now it’s not affordable or at least really needed.

Any motto?

I could fill in any sloppy sentence here or quote any of my favourite bands, but no real motto for me.

Cycling is for you…

Fun. Connection with other people. A way to clear my head when riding.

Thanks to…

To my friends who hardly see me throughout the year.

To my friends in Team Mark It Zero, IRD, Affinity, Aventón and Suicycle for booking me this year to travel to the RHC races.

To Ash Duban for always smiling. I shot my favourite rider’s portrait of her this year in London.

Finally to everyone who shows interest in my work and of course you guys for giving me the opportunity to talk a little bit about it.