We had the privilege to interview and feature the fantastic shots of Mitchell Kanashkevic, a tireless world wanderer and a travel / documentary photographer, working predominantly in Asia and Eastern Europe.
Tell us about something about you.
I am not overly crazy about categorizing, but to describe what I do, I guess I would say that I am a documentary/travel photographer. I spend most of my time on the road, with my wife, who’s been helping me, ever since I met her.
My main interests are cultures and traditions. I find that a lot of what’s visually unique about those two things that interest me is disappearing all around the world and so I feel compelled to see and to photograph as much as I can, before we have one “global culture” that is likely to be fairly visually uniform.
A couple of years ago I also became a teacher of a sort. As a lot of interest accumulated about how I go about doing my work, it made sense to share some of what I’ve learned over my time as a travel/documentary photographer. I found that the best way of doing this is through eBooks, you can find them on my website and on sites such as Digital Photography School and Craft and Vision.
What’s your creative process like?
I don’t necessarily have any set process because you really need to be flexible when you are dealing with people (who are my main subject matter), especially considering that the people I deal with are usually from cultures different to mine. So I guess I could say that the process involves flexibility, patience, the ability to adapt to various situations and to interact with people from all walks of life. The actual photography part is pretty straight forward.
Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography?
I travel a lot and I find inspiration in the places and people I encounter on my journeys. What inspires me in particular are age old traditions and interesting stories with a human factor, whether that means people working in unusual environments or remote tribes.
I also often seek out the work of photographers interested in similar things as me. Every now and then I come across something that takes my breath away and makes me want to run out with the camera and try something similar.
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
To be good in any field of work the “rules” are the same. Nothing comes easy, but if you are really good, really persistent and determined, you withll usually achieve what you want.
When it comes to travel/documentary photography specifically I usually tell those who are interested in this kind of work two things - take at least a couple of years to shoot intensely and to create a strong body of work, then start marketing and selling that work with the same level of creativity and determination that you had when you made the photos.
If you have something else to add (a video/about your next project/etc.) just tell us.
I am currently working on a photo project about people who live off the sea in a small village on the island of Panay, Philippines.
Thank you Mitchell for the precious information you transmitted for our audience with this interview. Good luck with the Panay Island project, and the other ones, hope to see more of your pictures close to big names in the industry such as Steve McCurry. And thank you Enzo dal Verme for the suggestion to feature Mitchell.