Sasha Leahovcenco

Making Portraits At The End Of The World

Earlier this week, Sightsmap posted a fascinating Google map showing the most photographed places in the world. The data was compiled using geolocated image data from Google users via Google Maps’ Panoramio service. The map allows you to zoom all the way down to street view to see not only where people are taking photographs, but also what they are photographing. If you’re reading this post, you may find it easy to take photography for granted, despite the fact that there are still places where photography is virtually non-existent. “Like where?” you may ask.

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For photographer Sasha Leahovcenco, it meant traveling to the end of the world to make these moving portraits of the nomadic reindeer herding families of Chukotka in northern Russia. For these families and communities, life has remained the same as it has for more than a hundred years, despite the rest of the world speeding up and growing smaller. Not only had they rarely seen outsiders, they had never been photographed or even seen a camera before. With gear that included cameras, lights and portable printers, Leahovcenco and his team traveled more than a thousand miles to reach some of the most remote villages, leaving gifts of food, clothing and shoes in addition to copies of the portraits they made. Leahovcenco’s images are just wonderful and the whole story helps to remind us of the importance of connection and the incredible power that a photograph has to provide it.

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