Back in 2005, Sydney based Russian/ Portuguese documentary photographer Vlad Sokhin was hitch-hiking through Serbia and decided to visit Kosovo. During that time, the land was post-war and scattered with tanks in the streets, destroyed houses, obliterated churches, KFOR troops still present and broken people. Sokhin had a camera with him and documented his entire trip, which included writing a piece about it, and then upon returning home he reached out to a few magazines about his story. To his surprise, only one magazine responded to him, but after receiving Sokhin’s unedited archive they had a few choice words for him, which Sokhin explained to me in an interview. “He replied that the pictures I took in Kosovo were just snapshots and that he could not call them “photographs.” The piece was never published and the editor gave me advice never to show those images to other people.“
Hearing feedback like that would send most aspiring photographers crying, however Sokhin took his feedback as advice and to heart. “His words made me to learn more of what photography is. And then I discovered the whole new world that changed my life. I got enrolled to several photography courses and never left home without a camera. By the end of 2008 I had my first photographs published in Portuguese papers and since 2009 I have been working as a photographer.”
For Sokhin, photography is the best way for him to learn about life and share what he has learned from other people, which is evident in every photo he takes. Because of that, he refers to himself as a documentary photographer rather than a photojournalist. He would rather spend his own money and work on a project, than do something for hire that he doesn’t feel strongly about. “I keep coming back to the same place, but covering different subjects. For example, back in early 2012 I arrived in Papua New Guinea to work on a project, and by now I keep coming back as there are heaps of untold stories in the country. “
Sokhin’s work has a feel of complete honesty between him and his subjects, like there is no divider in between. “I’m inspired by people’s lives, by their openness to me and my camera, by their wish to share their stories with people they have never met and they will never meet again.” His work is as inspiring as it is amazing. If you want to see more, go here to check out his photography and projects.