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.