andy bokanev

Who are you?
Hi, my name is Andy Bokanev and I am currently based in Seattle in the great Pacific Northwest.

Why photography?
I first picked up the camera when I moved to Seattle from New York City. It was something about the mountains and the ocean. I started to do a lot of hiking, climbing and some surfing and wanted to document it all.

When did you know that you would become a professional photographer?
Ha. Not really sure what one considers to be a professional photographer. I was thinking about this the other day. This is my job, I get paid for it, so I guess I’m a “professional” photographer. Love it.

What was your first encounter with cycling?
I grew up in Russia and it was on TV during the summer. I did not understand anything that was going on, but I found it fascinating. Then I forgot about it.

Then a few years ago I was visiting Bend, Oregon and there was a stage race going on. The whole place was abuzz with energy. It was hard not to get into it. Plus the Tour de France was on in every cafe. That made something click inside of me. And I have been into it ever since.

When did you decide to start shooting cycling?
It was a natural progression for me. I have always photographed whatever I was into.

What are your favorite type of cycling photography?
Documentary work that goes beyond the finish photo. And anything that gets me stoked to ride a bike.

Do you have a dream setting to shoot?
That’s an ever-elusive list… Currently, visiting some of the Spring Classics and cyclocross in Belgium are near the top.

Favorite place to ride?
It never ceases to amaze me just how amazing California is for riding. SoCal / NorCal, there is always an amazing climb within close reach. But ask me again after I visit a few places that are high on my list like Italy, Spain, Japan and Norway.

What equipment do you use?
I have a DSLR, an ever changing stable of mirrorless Fuji cameras and several 35mm and medium format film cameras. I use whatever camera feels right for the race or the ride (which means sometimes I carry around the brick that is the 5D on my back up and down climbs).

Do you have any tips for the new photographer?
Don’t worry about equipment. Tell a story. Be nice. Don’t try to appeal to everybody.

Where do you get inspiration?
Honestly, currently a lot of my inspiration comes from skateboarding photography. I love what’s going on with guys like Arto Saari, Claudio Majorana, Daniel Zvereff etc.

I always get inspired by the masters like Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa, Leroy Grannis, Robert Frank, Bernard Thompson, etc. I should probably get a Leica.

Do you live by a ‘carpe diem’ motto or do you have any future dreams or ambitions?
Take it as it comes.

On a day which is completely free from work and duties, what do you do?
Spend time with my 18 month old daughter

What’s your best memory shooting?
Ask me in 20 years.

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