F-Stop Magazine: How did you first become involved in photography and what led to you working in this medium as an artist?
Mikhail Lebedev: After my graduation in 2011 I worked in many positions – as an engineer, taxi driver, construction worker, office clerk, bartender, camera operator. Right now, I understand that it was an important experience in getting to know the world, in improving my communication skills. I have met and have talked to people of different wealth and occupations; I have learnet their view of looking at things. Why are they where they are now? It is a massive kaleidoscope of fates, of their worries and heartaches.
Before 2017 I thought of myself as a photographer, while, in fact, I was not one. I hid behind the word ‘photographer’ in society but did not pay much attention to photography. In spring of 2017, during an internal crisis, I internalized that. At that point it was decided – either I experience the photography for real or I do not pursue it at all. My life changed. I started to spend most of my energy on photography. I graduated form the “Dokdokdok” school of documentary photography, started to shoot photo stories. For now, photojournalism and personal projects occupy the central position in my life. I invest in studying the English language and dismiss commercial shoots to make space for documentary shoots.