How do you keep your travel photography original? It’s close to impossible to answer that question with a few words, but Anton Charushin doesn’t need words to do that. He just does headstands. A lot of them.

Anton, 27, from Russia got into breakdancing in high school where he realised that doing headstands is pretty good for your blood circulation and general wellbeing. Well, and then there were the creative benefits. Tagging head stands on lakes, in the snow, on fields, roofs, rocks and train stations with #stolbyshking has turned Anton into an Instagram phenomenon – and into a creative that is constantly on the look-out for new locations to place his head on.

We caught up with the master himself in a quick Q&A.

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Hey Anton, who are you? And what’s the deal with your photography?

I am 27 years old. I was born in the central region of Russia, Vyatka. Now I live in Moscow. I work as a design engineer in a research institute. I started doing photography at university. At that time film photography and developing them was popular among my friends.

What’s your favourite travel destination? 

That’s probably home. It’s nice to come back to the place you grew up.

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What does #stolbyshking mean? 

‘Making’ stolbyshking, I do not photograph people, I photograph myself with the help of my friends. The idea came to me during one of my trips. I decided to spice up my pictures and started fooling around and standing on my head. I called it stolbyshking, deriving from the Russian word “stolb” which means post, pillar, pole.

How long can you stand on your head?

I can do it for a long time. I learned it through breakdancing. Now it’s a very simple element [of the photo]. When I find the balance and raise my hands [getting up] only takes a fraction of a second.

Cool beans. How does that snapping process work?

I look for an interesting place, choose the angle and composition and ask a friend to take a picture of me. Then I stand up on my head and on the count of three I get my hands in the air and the picture takes place. Sometimes a friend is not around, then I use a timer on my camera. I always try to come up with something unusual, not to repeat myself, but do not deviate from the topic. Then I edit the photo on the computer or on the phone and post it on Instagram.

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Which picture was the most fun to take? 

My favourite picture is taken in Vietnam with Korean tourists [the one above]. There are a lot of emotions, it’s great!

What other Instagrammers inspire you?

Lately I’ve been very interested in Daniel Cerejo, Luís Octávio Costa and Simone Bramante. They have a lot of geometry, lights and shadows, unexpected camera angles, colors, original methods – just cool!

Any travel plans on the cards? 

I plan to travel through the Great Mother Russia. Russia is a huge, beautiful country and there are so many interesting places like Baykal Lake and Kamchatka.

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How can my own photos become as original as yours – with two feet on the ground though? 

I would advise to come up with something unusual. You can change someone else’s idea and develop it. Do not get hung up on standard approaches.

Easy enough… Thanks Anton! I will let you know how that goes.

 

*All photographs taken by Anton Charushin