Spotlight Interview … Photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich


JRP: Mitchell Kanashkevich is a photographer based in Australia . Stunning black & white images along with visually pleasing color is his forte. JRP Blog is pleased to share with you this glimpse into the world of travel photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich.

Thank you Mitchell for sharing a few moments with JRP Blog.

Mitchell Kanashkevich: No worries, thanks for the invite.

JRP: Where in the world do you call home?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: Sydney, Australia but in reality I’ve spent more time wandering around places in South East Asia over the past few years, and in the future the traveling will continue.

JRP: What led you to photojournalism and do you have any formal training?


Mitchell Kanashkevich: Although lately I’m increasingly shooting photo journalistic stuff, I wouldn’t call myself a photo journalist. I guess I’d say that I’m a documentary/people photographer interested in culture, ancient traditions and unique stories on the human condition. I studied film at Uni, so no photographic training as such. I simply fell in love with the idea of traveling around the world with less equipment than I’d have to carry had I been making films.

JRP: What tools would we find in your camera bag for a typical trip and shoot?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: Canon 5D body, Lenses – Canon 24-70 f2.8, Sigma 20mm f1.8. I’m also increasingly finding myself carrying flash equipment: Canon 580 EX II Flash + ST-E2 infrared transmitter. Photoflex LiteDome XS softbox and a bunch of “Rosco” Cinegels.

JRP: Is there one lens that you just can’t do without and why?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: The Canon 24-70 is a good, multipurpose lens on a full frame camera; it covers me for most of the stuff that I shoot.

JRP: Do you spend a lot of time processing images? Could you please describe your digital work flow and the software you use?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: Depends. Often I find that the tonal range of an image right out of the camera is not acceptable, so I like to improve things by making multiple images from a single RAW file in Capture One software and then “blending” them together into one in PS. It’s not HDR. More like dodging and burning, painting inside layer masks.

How long I spend varies from image to image, but at times I can be rather obsessive. I have had instances of working for close to an hour on a photograph, thinking the post-processing was great, waking up the next day, thinking otherwise and spending a whole lot more time to “perfect” it.

I like my photos to look striking, but not over-processed, not to a point where they become surreal because of the post-processing. Sometimes that requires more time, you have to step back and look at the photograph the next day or in a few days even, this is of course if you don’t have a deadline to meet.

JRP: Do you make use of a lot of custom white balances when you shoot?


Mitchell Kanashkevich: When I shoot I usually just leave my white balance on something close to 6000k (I like the warmer look). Because I shoot RAW, I don’t bother too much about white balance while shooting.

JRP: Image printing, how do you handle that?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: I don’t really handle it. I download proof color profiles from my lab, optimize my images and send then off.

JRP: For you what is the most critical moment in the capture of an image?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: There are a few components that go into the making of a strong image, so I guess the critical moment is basically Bresson’s “Decisive Moment”. When all of the important components converge for a split second,  the light is favorable, the expression says something and the subject is positioned in a way that allows you to compose the shot how you want. That’s the critical, decisive moment.

JRP: Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: Currently I’m working on photos from projects that I shot as long as a year ago. Because of extensive time away I didn’t get a chance to properly sort through them, pick which images that work and post-process them.

JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: A much more experienced photographer friend told me not too long ago: “If you think that when you become a great photographer you can simply wait and editors, clients or agencies will start knocking on your door, then you might as well forget about it in this lifetime.”

JRP: Is there a photographer whose work has inspired you?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: The famous masters inspired me, McCurry, Nachtwey, Salgado, Bresson. In fact there are probably too many to mention. Occasionally I’ll go on the “Magnum” website and get my dose of inspiration there. Whenever I’m in a big city I look at photography books in book shops, see people’s websites. The “signal to noise ratio” is often rather low, but it makes the jewels you find that much more special and inspirational.

JRP: What advice would you share with photographers starting out?

Mitchell Kanashkevich: Continuing on from the advice that I received, I’d say If you are passionate and good at what you do, have confidence in yourself. Don’t be afraid to approach big name clients, magazines or agencies.


Be brave and aim high. You’ll always have irrelevant people telling you what you can’t do. From my experience a lot of photographers starting out believe too strongly in some made up limitations or rules that we supposedly have to play by.

I feel that we’ve got too little time in life to ponder on the countless nuances which have no meaning and too many of us fear rejection. Do it, get knocked back, toughen up, learn what you need to improve and try again. If you have what it takes you’ll get to where you want to be eventually. If you don’t, at least the journey was fun. The bottom line is you need to give yourself a chance, you need to act.

JRP: Thank you Mitchell for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a real pleasure talking with you. We wish you continued success.

Mitchell Kanashkevich: Thanks to you too, James, keep up the good work with your blog.

JRP: To view more of Mitchell Kanashkevich’s photography please follow these links:


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