Ivan Kashinsky is a documentary photographer who has worked extensively in Latin America. While working towards his master’s degree in communications, in his home state of California, he met a fellow photojournalism student from Ecuador, Karla Gachet, who would forever change the course of his life. Kashinsky decided to travel with her to her homeland to create a multimedia thesis project exploring the indigenous fiestas of the Ecuadorian Andes.
While the journey was intended to be relatively short, Ivan ended up living in Ecuador for twelve years. He focused his energy on stories about culture and the effects of globalisation on tradition and the environment. In 2007, Kashinsky received his first assignment from National Geographic Magazine to photograph Bolivia’s women wrestlers, who had become unlikely superstars in a machista society. He then went on to photograph more stories for the magazine with his partner, Gachet. The first project was on the wealthy Roma of Buzescu, Romaina, and the second, on Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park, revealing the devastating impacts of oil extraction on the Waorani people and the environment.0
Kashinsky has worked with numerous publications and organisations including the New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Geo and the United Nations. His work has been exhibited internationally and recognised in many photojournalism contests. Ivan has led multiple workshops and was an expert photo instructor for National Geographic Student Expeditions in the Galapagos Islands and the Ecuadorian Andes.
In 2016, Kashinsky moved back to his hometown in Los Angeles, California. Ivan and Karla then published another feature in National Geographic Magazine entitled, “How Latinos Are Shaping America’s Future,” in which they documented the lives of Latinxs in the LA area and in a small town in Idaho, called Wilder. Kashinsky also worked on a long-term documentary project about a homeless community on the Los Angeles River. The project was published in the Los Angeles Times and won the prestigious POYi Community Awareness Award. In 2022, Ivan published Project Mi Barrio, a personal photobook about his changing neighbourhood when he lived in Rumihuaico, Ecuador.
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It’s a painfully familiar story: a huge, ruthless oil company descends on a quiet, rural location, extracts vast quantities of crude oil with total disregard for the environmental pollution caused, then winds down its operation and leaves the wretched inhabitants of a blighted landscape to piece their lives back together while taking no responsibility for long term damage inflicted.
Once known as “Little San Francisco” and “The Jewel of the Pacific” for its vibrant atmosphere and hilly seaside setting, the Chilean port city of Valparaiso lost much of its status and trading traffic with the opening of the Panama Canal in the early 20th century and subsequently went into decline.