His photos show us beauty and diversity of the people all around the world. His name is Alexander Khimushin and he’s the creator of The World in Faces, a project that I find to be amazing and that you can learn more about by reading our interview.
Can you present yourself to our readers?
Adventurer first and photographer close second I would say. Living on the road most of the time, on the edge quite often. Off the beaten path is the only way of traveling. Like meeting interesting people and watching sunsets.
How and when did you start your project The World in Faces?
I’ve been travelling the last eight years almost non-stop. Since the day it all started I had a camera. Discovering the world and photography are two inseparable things in my life. About 2 years ago I was flicking through my extensive photo archives and came across a few portraits taken in different places. “What if I put it all together?”, it suddenly stroke me. A few hours later, looking at hundreds of these faces I realised: “OMG! Why haven’t I thought about it earlier!? It was them, the people who I met somewhere; they were the most interesting part of my travel experiences whatever part of the world I’ve been to!” Such an obvious conclusion, but it took years of travel and internal transformation to make it crystal clear. Inspired by the idea, I decided not only to publish those portraits, but to continue taking more of them as an ongoing photo project. By now The World in Faces, as I called it, consumed me entirely. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that I’ve lived by it ever since. It has become the main purpose of my journey.
What were your idea and goals behind it?
The concept was simple. To show diversity of the world through the portraits of its people. There are more than 10K ethnic groups living on this planet. Sadly, many of them are disappearing. Also, due to globalization many of the cultures and traditions are vanishing right in front of our eyes. I want to photograph people of all ethnicities of the world. To show their beauty and dignity. Lifetime is probably not long enough to complete this project, but I’ll try my best! By doing this work I hope to make this world a little better. Yes, we all are different. We have different traditions, cultures, beliefs, colour of the skin. Yet, we all share the same moral values, understating of what is right and what is wrong. We all believe in freedom, equality and justice. All of us want peace and the best future for our children. Our differences should not be an obstacle or a reason to hate each other. Quite opposite, we must admire and respect our diversity and uniqueness of each and every nation. Let’s all live in peace. Let’s try to keep our cultures alive. Let’s be more tolerant to each other. Love. Peace. Tolerance. This is the message of my project.
To how many countries you have been so far and which places left a special impression on you?
84 so far, but I don’t think the number matters that much. There are people hoping from one plane to another over weekend just to visit some capital city, and there are some who visited just a few countries, but inside out. My style is usually long-term overland journeys, visiting some really off the beaten path locations, where traditions and culture are still alive and the nature is still untouched. Some countries I’ve been to several times, in some I’ve traveled around for a very long time.
What is the biggest lesson you learned from your travels?
Trust people and stay positive. You can’t be a traveler without this mindset.
What is beauty for you?
Beauty lives in our hearts. It is the way we should see the world around. It’s reflection of our inner self. It can be seen in people, nature, anything really, but you must be willing to see it first. One of my favorite quotes is: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” (Henry David Thoreau)
Is picture really worth a 1000 words?
There are beautiful poems and beautiful paintings, dance, drama. All people feel differently. I’ve always admired creativity in people whatever method they use to express their feelings! Seeing the world through the photo lens is my way to express what I feel. Since I am not a gifted writer a picture is definitely worth more than 1000 words in my case!
What inspires you?
A simple idea can inspire you, bring a positive change to your life and the lives of others. It is very important for me to believe in and do something for a good cause. It’s such a great feeling that my life is full of purpose and the travel is meaningful. I am so happy that I work on The World in Faces and I have no plans to stop. Within the last 2 months I’ve been driving 4×4 in very remote locations of Siberia. Yes it’s been really tough journey, but definitely worth it! There are 41 ethnic indigenous groups in Russia. Most of them are unknown not only to the outside world but even within the country. Some of these people are on the edge of disappearance – 400, 300, 100 people left in the entire world. Whenever I get to places like this the people are overwhelmed that someone made 1000 miles journey just to see them. Elders die every year. Most languages were lost within the last decade or two. There were no quality photographs taken there whatsoever. I feel that documenting faces and traditional clothing of these minorities is a very important mission. It gives me strength and inspiration to continue. How many people like them are in the entire world? How many ethnic minorities will disappear within the next 20-30 years?
If you were a super-hero what would be your super-power and why?
I would be a Camera-Man! Whatever I take a photo of from a museum will become real and alive! So many unique indigenous cultures, rare animals, plants were irretrievably lost. We all know, it’s wrong, but sadly we can’t turn it all back. Wouldn’t be great if I could? “In this bright future you can’t forget your past.” (B.Marley)