707.367.6233 Mischalopiano@gmail.com

Best of 2016

Finding Mischa: 2016

This past year, I've lived in three different time-zones, put thousands of miles on my car, made new friends, reconnected with old ones and eaten a ridiculous amount of Italian food in my hometown.

The first half of the year, I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska where I interned at the Lincoln Journal Star. Living in the Midwest, I began to understand the need to separate my work and my personal life, something I couldn't imagine while I was in school or during my first couple of internships. For a long time, I had blinders on, and my idea of self was closely tied to being "Mischa the Photojournalist." That's how I wanted others to see me, because that's how I saw myself. Pursuing this identity drove my life decisions and made me feel like a wreck when I thought I was straying from the "Right Path." I would get this feeling like a lead ball in my gut whenever I wasn't making images, but photography wasn't fun to me anymore, it was just work. It also made me competitive, resentful and envious of others because of their success. I hated that about myself.

So I took the rest of the year to work on myself and moved back to my hometown of Covelo in rural Northern California. I reconnected with a childhood friend, spent some time in Sacramento and learned it ain't so bad, drove over mountain passes (they aren't as scary as I thought), photographed my cousin's wedding and found out that living with my parents isn't always terrible. I also started playing with film photography. It's made me more patient and deliberate in my work, but now I have way too many cameras to carry around because I can't decide which one I like best.

This shift has caused a change in my work as well. I'm less concerned about getting the perfect image because I'm trying to have fun making photos again. The pictures towards the end of this post were what I wanted to photograph, not images that someone was paying me for.

I'm starting to realize that there is no "Right Path" and that I'm more than just "Mischa the Photojournalist." I can do things for myself that don't have to further my career. Sometimes I go for a hike or a drive and don't take any cameras. One time I even watched a sunset without taking any pictures of it! (Jk, I totally did, it's below). Photography is still a major part of my life and I can still feel that lead ball in my gut, but it doesn't control me like it used to.

Most recently, I've journeyed up to Fairbanks, Alaska where I'm attempting to survive the winter with a bunch of dogs and a pretty great gal. There's also the possibility of some other great things on the horizon in 2017, but I'll tell you more about those later.

Below, you'll see a bunch of images I made in 2016, but there's a bunch of images you won't see, because the only camera I had was in my mind, which is okay too.