One Successful Travel Photographer’s Must-Have Piece of Gear

Every so often a respected photographer puts together a list of his or her crucial pieces of gear, whether it’s rugged hard drives or a particular camera strap. However, not many would put this major piece of technology at the top of the list: the humble automobile.

Travel and documentary photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich regards the car as being absolutely critical to achieving his images, whether it’s off-roading through Bolivia or seeking out unique rock formations in Turkey. In this rather beautiful video, he outlines why it’s central to his work, how it allows him to produce his images, and the various pros and cons of choosing to rent or buy a car or motorbike when taking your next trip.

Having done various road trips over the last 10 years, I can testify to the joys of having complete control over your journey, whether it’s being able to ensure that you catch the best of the light at either end of the day, or simply being able to pack in more than you would otherwise had you been dependent on public transport. 

At the same time, having a vehicle can mean the opposite of trying to cram in as much as possible. One of my first road trips with a camera was a lesson in not trying to tick off as many sights and locations as I could, but actually appreciating the journey and learning to immerse oneself in all of those moments in between. In 2008, two friends invited me on a three-week trip around Italy. I was incredibly keen, hoping to catch a different city every day or two and eat as much pizza as possible. Then I discovered that the means of transport was a 1974 Citroen 2CV with a top speed of around 60 miles per hour. Plus, we would be avoiding all motorways and choosing the most scenic roads wherever possible. Suddenly the trip had a very different flavor; we would be sleeping under a tarpaulin on the side of the road or seeking out friends’ floors and sofas, and discovering some of Italy’s most stunning landscapes, cruising between cities, and enjoying a much slower pace of life, all thanks to one incredible vehicle that was full of character.

In a world that feels a little oversaturated with #vanlife imagery and yellow jackets, seeing Kanashkevich's work is refreshing. For once, the white Land Rover does not feel like a cliche. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

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5 Comments

David Penner's picture

This what I use for heading out to shoot. Even when the weather doesn't cooperate like the day I took this shot it's still fun to blast down some mountain roads with some good music playing.

If you have an old Land Rover you will need a full workshop manual and a decent tool kit since the car will break down.

If you do not have an old Land Rover don't waste your money on either a tool kit or a manual. The car will still break down off road, but you will not be able to repair it so get recovery insurance and a fat credit card.

ps Great footage and pictures. Thank you!!!

Ludwig Heinrich's picture

The Land Rover is the world’s longest-serving production vehicle — an unequalled run of 67 years. Land Rover Defenders have been used by some 140 of the world’s military forces — including the US during the first Gulf War.
All cars will break down given extreme use. I have had 3 Toyota Landcruisers—they all broke down at least once or twice. On the other hand I travelled 13,000 kilometres through Australia, including lots of off-road and secondary roads and fire-trails and including getting some 50kms off road on the Nullabor in a Citroën C5. I don' think being tribal is relevant.

Ludwig, don't forget the Jeep which the Lend Rover was based on and is still in production. A run of 76 years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep

Ludwig Heinrich's picture

You are correct :-) I had forgotten the Jeep because while the Land Rover Defender looks a lot like the original Land Rover, there doesn't seem to be a Jeep that looks like the old ex-Army Jeeps I drove. Still I agree it should take the credit. However Land Rovers have always been built in the same Solihull factory, which gives it a more contiguous history. But I was also told that the longest production is actually the Morgan Plus 4. It’s been in production for 80 years, and on the same basic chassis since 1955.