Australia-based photographer Christian Mushenko has always wanted to pursue a project that was meaningful to him—one that was free of forced smiles and the structure associated with a typical commercial shoot. And so, he began his personal project, “Connections,” where he aimed to capture human emotion in a series of both planned and unplanned photos.
To a certain degree the spontaneity of seeing something real is better than trying to plan to shoot and make something happen.
Christian sometimes didn’t even tell his subjects they were being photographed because he didn’t want the camera to inhibit them from showing their true emotions.
To portray something that illustrates the essence of life and love, an insight into authentic moments and interactions is a privilege and a treat.
Armed with his camera and a readiness to leave his comfort zone, Christian travelled all over to photograph “Connections.” He visited with lepers in Mexico, then eventually travelled north to photograph the everyday heroes of New York City. His commitment to genuine photos also led him to a series of interactions with families living in the Ronald McDonald House, a “home away from home” for families with children in the hospital. He maintained that projects with a backstory are more effective at communicating a consistent, more powerful message.
There’s something comforting about being away from home and connecting with people on a deeper level even as the observer. It can be hard to go out of my comfort zone in those times, but most times I do, I don’t regret it.
Christian notes that while it was important for him to explore new places and try new things, it was also essential to have his subjects willingly leave their comfort zones. This meant embracing their true emotions to the point where they forgot they were being photographed.
“Connections” is about documenting authentic life experiences: friends celebrating an engagement or grandparents playing with a newborn grandchild. Christian wanted to eliminate the commercial aspect of everyday photo shoots, and rather, connect with his subjects on a human level. Connections presented Christian with an opportunity to express the joy of life without the constraints of a commercial shoot. Christian hopes that what started as a passion project can transform into a body of work that can serve as the foundation for future commercial projects that come from a more realistic place.
To view more of Christian’s work, visit christianmushenko.com.