Documentary photographers allow us to see unfamiliar worlds as intimately as their subjects do. Our documentary series shifts the focus to the reporters behind the lens and their experiences in the field. Discover Russian documentary photographer Artem Zhushman‘s series ‘Faces of Nepal‘ and learn why he prefers series to stills, shooting compact, and his most inspiring destinations.
Q: What attracts you to the documentary or reportage side of photography?
A: I’m an observer by nature. When I was a child, sometimes I would watch other kids playing and running around instead of participating. When I grew up and started to travel, reportage photography helped me to immerse myself more deeply in new places and cultures, to blend the border between a stranger with a camera and local life.
A: A single image is a powerful tool, but you have to be a true master to create an impressive one (like Steve McCurry or Sebastiao Salgado). Series help to tell more complete stories. I like linear series (a sequence of images, like in reportage) as well as non-linear (a series combined by topic, color, subject, etc.). I also think we live in a world of fast content now, which lends itself more to videos than stills—series help bridge the two worlds.
Q: In the past, you’ve used an iPhone and several mirrorless cameras from Olympus and the Fuji X series to capture some of your documentary portraits. What makes less-assuming devices like these well-suited to close encounters and portraiture?
A: Using compact and silent cameras makes you a more polite and respectful guest in your travel shooting. Your subject feels more like they’re having a conversation with you than having a photoshoot. Easygoing equipment helps me form closer relations with my subjects and makes the shooting process feel more intimate.
Q: What draws you to places like Northern India, where you’ve trekked long distances on foot? For those who haven’t visited India, Nepal or Thailand, can you explain what inspires you about these areas?
A: There was no special reason for me to go to those regions. But for a person like me, born and raised in a small Siberian town, Asia is like something out of a fairy tale. I had never been in a tropical climate, never seen oceans, high mountains, or deserts. So to go and to live there is a childhood dream come true. From my very first visits there, I fell in love with the culture. Immersing myself in the local communities makes me feel like I’m living out one of the novels I used to read from cover to cover, about expeditions like Nikolay Przhevalsky’s and Nicholas Roerich’s.