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When South African hostel owner Nelieta Mishcheko and her Russian husband relocated to Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, Argentina in 2007 to open Hostel Tinktinkie, little did she expect that she would be so spellbound by this side of the world that she expressed her love for the country and travelling through photography.  We interview the mother-of-two grown up daughters to share her thoughts on her journey and her beautifully-taken photographs.

What made you pursue photography?
I get to live out my imagination through photography and I love it! I started taking it seriously in 2011, drawing inspiration from my surroundings and wild imagination.

What are your thoughts on Argentina?
I love Argentina! It is a beautiful country and have lots to offer. Life here is much more relaxed unlike the stress I experienced in South Africa. Families here make time for each other and they are very close. The contrast can be found in the bigger cities, where materialism is more important and people are unable to give their time, which is sad. Economically, Argentina is a strong country but the government can be restrictive in the area of imports and exports. Paperwork is a nightmare, and doing business here can be difficult. Language is also another obstacle since people here speak Spanish and not English.


Clockwise: The door at the end of the corridor, Life is a Landscape and Colonial House in Colonia del Sacramento

Where in Argentina do you like to take pictures the most?
Most of my photos are taken here in Argentina during my random travels locally. Currently a lot of my pictures are taken in the Cordoba province. We live in a very popular holiday destination and there are always events that allow for photo opportunities.

What kind of photos do you like to take the most?
I like to take photos of people. Street photography is one of my favourites. Normally, I sit in a quiet corner and watch the world go by, capturing people and their facial expressions. My other favourite is to capture the beauty of nature.

What is your most favourite photo you have taken to date?
It was taken at a wedding in Red Square, Moscow in 2008. The weather was cold and the bride was walking with a sleeveless dress. The next moment I saw the father of the bride putting a coat over her shoulders. I took the photo in a matter of seconds and captured that tender moment.

Your photography has brought you to travel to many places. Which particular places gave you the most memorable visits?
This is not easy. Many people have asked me how I choose my travel destinations and I always maintain that they choose me. I find solace and peace in each country that I visit. My latest trip to Russia is probably the most memorable one because we stayed there for 3 months, experiencing day-to-day life and going to areas that people don’t normally go to. I have also been to Thailand where I took a hike through the jungle in Chiang Mai and got introduced to the hill tribes. The simplicity of their lives fascinated me. Their squat toilets gave me a culture shock though since I actually fell in one and hurt my ankle!

Tell us the price range of your photo pieces.
My images are displayed on Fine Arts America and can be purchased as framed prints, canvas prints, greeting cards, acrylic prints, metal prints, posters, and more. Photos are also for sale for publication purposes and normally sell for US$45 per image.

What is your biggest dream in photography that you have yet to achieve?
I would like to photograph the underprivileged communities and make them feel beautiful and special, especially girls and young women who don’t feel good about themselves. That would give me great joy and a sense of purpose.

If you were not a photographer, what would you be?
I would be a travel writer. That way I can pursue my passion for travelling.

You can view more of Nelieta’s photography at http://nelieta-mishchenko.artistwebsites.com/

This article was published on Vida De Latinos’ online magazine, 1 Dec 2012.

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