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THE
WAY
PHOTOGRAPHER’S
Discover 8 unique stories of becoming a visual artist
Turkey-France
Masis Usenmez
translated through
their work and appreciated
by audiences.
which is often
unique vision,
These experiences shape
a photographer's
inspire.
and
power to amuse
We share photographer
stories from around the world: their ups and downs,
life lessons,
and anecdotes that have the
the
JOURNEY is.
challenging
A visual artist’s path is more challenging than it seems.
Some run into obstacles and fall,
but a lot more find
the strength to follow their dreams, no matter how
Turkey-France
Masis Usenmez
translated through
their work and appreciated
by audiences.
which is often
unique vision,
These experiences shape
a photographer's
inspire.
and
power to amuse
We share photographer
stories from around the world: their ups and downs,
life lessons,
and anecdotes that have the
the
JOURNEY is.
challenging
A visual artist’s path is more challenging than it seems.
Some run into obstacles and fall,
but a lot more find
the strength to follow their dreams, no matter how
morfi jimenez
Peru
WAY
A Peruvian fine artist who captures daily life, and the relationship between human behavior and the environment.
My work won the first prize! I was surprised because Hasselblad was something unreachable for me at that time. I did not expect that a small, intimate project would make me known around the world. It was indescribable.

Now, almost 20 years have passed and I look at photography in a different way. It’s like riding a bike. In the beginning, you’re worried about technique, but once you master it, you can ride no-handed and roll a cigarette at the same time. The same goes for photography.

Initially, you are concerned about lighting and shadows, but later you start to think more about the psychological aspect of photography. What’s really important is the character in front of you.
morfi jimenez
This was devastating to hear! Afterwards, I started to process his words and realized that Francisco had his reasons. He made me question what kind of photographer I want to become and challenged me to think out of the box.

It took me two years to create a worthy project. That year, my grandma passed away. She was like a second mother to me, which made the loss very painful. I decided to pay respect to her with a new project, because my first photographs were taken alongside my grandma. My idea was to recreate pictures I took when she was alive, but with a different technique in mind.

The first person I showed these works to was Francisco, and he was happy with my images. With the confidence I gained after speaking to him and other photographers, I applied to the Hasselblad Masters competition in 2008.
At the beginning of my career, I was interested in travel photography, and my intention was to take images that looked like postcards. I was not conscious of what I wanted to say through my works yet. I tried to create the perfect image with a clear blue sky and bright yellow sun.

I felt like I was turning into a good photographer, so I decided to show my work to the professional that I respected the most—a good friend of mine—Francisco. He looked at my pictures and said: “Your photos are fine, they are colorful and bright, but I think they’re crap”.
Photography is like riding a bike. In the beginning, you’re worried about technique, but once you master it, you can ride no-handed and roll a cigarette at the same time.
Kate Kondratieva
WAY
A Ukrainian photographer who shares people’s stories and shoots powerful portraits that you can't keep your eyes off.
Kate Kondratieva
I stopped reading that very second and observed my cinematic surroundings; I was in a cold, ugly, and unpleasant place, but it was different outside. I could hear birds singing and see warm rays of light shining through the windows. This is when I realized that it's time to quit.

When I dropped out of university, the dean said: “Have you seen your eyes? You can heal people with them!" I laughed then, but now, when a client sends me words of gratitude, I understand that he was right.

What I shoot is called psychological portraiture. Oftentimes, people come to me in order to heal after getting divorced or experiencing major life changes. They want to remember themselves in that state, in order to release it afterwards. I am incredibly glad that they trust me with their most sincere and personal moments, and that I chose this very path eight years ago.
If someone told me eight years ago, that my life would be where it is today after quitting medical university, I would never believe them. Or, if I did, I would quit much earlier without hesitation.

Sometimes, I think back and wonder, “Where did I find the courage?” I have always been a good daughter that listened to her parents, and my parents told me that I was meant to become a doctor. The rebel in me appeared out of nowhere.

I have a vivid memory of an autopsy taking place at my physiology lecture: I stood in the cold, surrounded by blue light, with Richard Branson’s book “Screw It, Let's Do It! ”. He mentioned that you should choose what you love, even if it carries significant risks. If you believe in it 100%, you will definitely succeed.
When I dropped out of university, the dean said: "Have you seen your eyes? You can heal people with them!" I laughed then, but now, when a client sends me words of gratitude, I understand that he was right.
Eldar Khamitov
WAY
A New York-based photographer who captures candid moments and interesting personalities in the streets.
No matter what’s going on in your life, there’s always an opportunity to create something cohesive if you carry your camera with you.
This summer, I was going through an anxious breakdown that I developed after the pandemic started. The act of taking shots has a healing effect on me, so I decided to go for a walk on a foggy morning in Fire Island.

The beach was empty and I didn’t expect to photograph anything, until two men with a dog appeared out of nowhere. It boosted my creativity and I made a series of moody shots in the fog, all within one hour of walking back and forth down the seashore.

This experience taught me that with street photography, you can never expect when or how something will happen. No matter what’s going on in your life, there’s always an opportunity to create something cohesive if you carry your camera with you.
Eldar Khamitov
I remember being extremely excited when I randomly saw a documentary on Netflix about Vivian Maier, and her story of being a nanny. She shot the greatest street photography in history, without having a spotlight or anyone to see her works.

I was inspired and shocked to see how certain subjects that interested me were present in her shots as well. This made me feel like there was a connection between all street photography lovers. This connection makes us want to go out, shoot, and sometimes unconsciously choose things to photograph.

The subject matter that interests me usually reflects how I feel about the world. I am drawn to imperfections in appearances that catch the eye; from people who can be called misfits, as this is how I’ve mostly felt my entire life, to something that makes me sad, as I find myself to be a moody, melancholic person.
Seven years ago, I bought my first DSLR camera and started taking it for walks in the city. I had just moved to New York from Kazakhstan, and everything looked like it was from another planet. I was fascinated by small details that probably look very mundane to New Yorkers – I wanted to capture everything. At that point, I didn’t know anything about the street photography genre or its rules. I was just browsing and clicking.
Andrey Gudkov
Russia
WAY
A Russian wildlife photographer who takes images of animals in different corners of the world.
I had more falls than victories in my career. Sometimes, I asked myself, “How long do I keep on trying?” and wanted to quit.
But this is wild nature, there is nothing refined about it. It’s tough. Real jungles, savannahs, and forests. Real rivers, swamps, and oceans. There are no air conditioners. You are one with nature, attempting to get the best possible shots.

For professional wildlife photographers, these challenges aren’t even challenges. They’re everyday things that are an integral part of our profession. They’re only part of the iceberg.

The beautiful image that ends up hanging at an exhibition is the tip of the iceberg. The main part of it consists of preparing, organizing, budgeting, licensing, shooting, and finding transportation, as well as security. The shot itself is the quintessence of many different things.

In the end, the material about flamingos was named one of the best by National Geographic's main editorial board in Washington, D.C.
Andrey Gudkov
Photography was about trial and error for me, because there were no schools or courses to study wildlife photography in the early 2000s. The best I could do was explore the works of famous photographers and analyze every image myself. This was the only educational material available, which is why there were more falls than victories. Sometimes, I asked myself, “How long do I keep on trying?” This very thought made me want to quit.

I’ve been shooting the migration of animals in Africa for 12 years. It took me four years to capture breaching humpback whales, and three years to organize an expedition to Cuba. After three years of trials, we were given permission to visit one of the largest flamingo colonies in the Río Máximo Wildlife Park in Camagüey.

We were able to see and photograph 120,000 Caribbean flamingos. Can you imagine how lucky we were? Cuba is a unique place!

After spending 10 days in the park, I finally captured everything I had in mind. The conditions were far from perfect. I had to walk through a swamp in rubber overalls and was waist-deep in a warm and dirty slurry. The temperature was above 35 degrees Celsius. The air was humid and swarming with mosquitoes. I had to wear clothes that covered every part of my body. If you accidentally exposed a finger, it would look like a red balloon the next day. My face was also covered with a hat.
Masis Usenmez
WAY
A Turkish photographer living in France, who takes black and white street images and steers away from the complexity of color.
Your loneliness can be your strength. It can help you with your style of art, just don’t go in too deep.
Masis Usenmez
To sort out my feelings, I went to the streets. I observed lonely people in crowds. I thought about what they do, where they’re heading, and what is going on in their minds. With my street photography, I was able to ask questions and find answers.

That is how I came up with the idea to create a photo series called “La Solitude”. I realized that we cannot socialize as much in modern cities. Even though there are many people around us, we don’t look at them or talk to them. We are lonely in our daily activities.

It’s very different to be connected with people on social media than in real life. There is a time gap. You can change what you say or erase it. You still feel like you are alone in the room. Just your laptop and you.

My message is that loneliness is not a bad thing. It is natural and it can help you with your style of art. Just don’t go in too deep, and don’t close down in your loneliness. It should not necessarily be a dark place for you. Your loneliness can be your strength too.
I grew up and lived in Bakırköy — one of the most crowded neighborhoods in Istanbul. I had a happy childhood, even though we didn't have much in the 80s. We were probably the last generation to play in the streets, and when the computer revolution started, I got really into it.

A couple of years ago, I moved from Turkey to France. I did not know French, and it was difficult to connect with the new people and their culture. Although I connected on social media a lot, I felt very lonely during the first six months.
Katalin Száraz
WAY
A Hungarian photographer and filmmaker based in Paris, who explores the subject of “home” through personal storytelling.
If you have the courage to open up about personal issues through your work, it can result in powerful art.
In this project, I began to experiment with Polaroid emulsion lifts to reflect on my ‘rootless’ mindset and lifestyle. I created floating self-portraits that expressed a hovering and crumpled state. This project helped me formulate my thoughts and feelings, and made the concept of “home” more tangible.

I still continue to work on this project today, and it is already exhibited in Budapest.

In these years, I learned that if you have the courage to open up about personal issues through your work, it can result in powerful art.
Katalin Szaraz
During the last 8 years, I have lived in Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and France. I also traveled for a project to Japan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia. In the end, I traveled across the Indian Ocean to Australia, and then came back to France.

However, when I moved to Belgium for my Master’s degree, I started dealing with the issue of having a ‘rootless’ lifestyle. When I came back to Hungary, I suddenly felt less at home there, and it became harder to define where I belong. This issue bothered me, so I decided to translate my feelings into “Nocturne”, which eventually became my Master’s project. Since then, this issue has been my main subject. I continued to develop it through my latest project called “Unsettled”.
I grew up in a small town called Vác in Hungary. Creating things was part of my life from a young age, and I am grateful that my parents have always supported me in becoming a visual artist.

My mother is a teacher and my father is a sailor, so it was natural for him to be away for months. As a child, I always received postcards from different countries, and followed my father’s journey on the big world map in our living room. I think this played a role in how I live today. Traveling, saying goodbye, and reuniting with my family has always been a big part of my life.
Bat-Orgil Battulga
WAY
A Mongolian documentary photographer who creates authentic shots by capturing our current reality.
You never know how long you’ll be alive, so always do what you love. Stop thinking about whether your works are bad or good enough. Just shoot and create art to leave your own mark in history.
Bat-Orgil Battulga
I wondered, “Why should I continue?” I want to be a free artist and work on topics that touch my heart. So, I decided to go back to Mongolia.

I love my motherland, its nature, and the culture of freedom that can be traced through Mongolia’s history. In the 13th century, there was Karakorum city. People of different cultures and ethnicities lived there like one big family. If we compare this lifestyle with the 21st century, they lived as we do today - in a metropolis.

My project “Metro Metropolis Metrosexual” is based on this idea. I want to trace and explore the roots of culture in different metropolises through reportages. I think the documentary genre suits this project best, because it shows a current reality. However, there will be a new reality in 20 or 30 years, and my mission as a photographer is to document today.

You never know how long you’ll be alive, so always do what you love. Stop thinking about whether your works are bad or good enough. Just shoot and create art to leave your own mark in history.
I was born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and later lived in Saint Petersburg, Russia, with my parents and brother. No matter how much I grew up in the city, I always wanted to be closer to nature. It has its own spirit and mystery that makes us forget materialistic things, seek freedom, and listen to our hearts.

When I finished university in 2010, I worked as a photographer in an editorial office and quickly got sick and tired of everything. The board did not care for the topics I was interested in, because they worked according to commercial photography laws: everybody should like your images.
Dina Alfasi
WAY
An Israeli mobile photographer who focuses on capturing authentic people and emotion through her works.
Dina Alfasi
Because I work as an architectural engineer at a large hospital in northern Israel, I need to travel several times per day. That is why I take most of my pictures in transport. Besides, the natural light on the bus or train is the best you can find. And people there seem to be in their place. Someone is waiting; others are talking on the phone. It is exciting to watch them from the side, and find beautiful moments that touch me and others.

However, I have come across contempt from people who hear that I take pictures with an iPhone. Some say it is not real photography, while others don’t believe that I took my photos with a phone.

This makes me laugh! I took part in many competitions, where photos taken with an iPhone turned out to be award-winning. I was also privileged to participate in Apple advertising campaigns. This was recognition for the quality of my photographs. So why should I lie about taking pictures with an iPhone?

I don’t think it matters which camera you take photos with. You can take an image with an old film or a new digital camera. The only thing that matters is what you capture. When people see a photo, do they think about the camera it was taken with? Probably not. They think about the story you share and the beauty of it.