Photographer Gueorgui Tcherednitchenko self-published his photo book The Long Way Home as a record of his journey home from Japan to Russia. From Hong Kong to Ulaanbaatar, and Shanghai to Lake Baikal, Tcherednitchenko captured a wide of people, places, and cultures. Here, he shares more details about the project with Format Magazine.
I lived in Japan for six years and worked as a photographer for the last couple of them. Since I don’t have any formal education in photography (or art), I decided that in order to take my career to the next level, getting an education would be a good idea. I applied and got accepted to the Royal College of Art in London, which meant leaving Japan for at least two years, and, finding myself with free time before the expiry of my Japanese work visa and the start of the school year in London, I decided to take the opportunity to travel: instead of flying from Tokyo to London, I would stay as close to the surface of the planet as possible, and take my time getting back to Europe.
I was born in Russia but grew up in France, and it was a long-time dream to travel on the Trans-Siberian railroad, rediscovering the homeland that I left at the age of nine. This dream-trip became the backbone for this trip, the plan being as follows: fly from Tokyo to Hong Kong, then to Taipei, then to Shanghai. From Shanghai on, the rest of the trip would be by train and bus: Shanghai to Beijing by bullet train, Beijing to Mongolia’s capital—Ulaanbaatar—on the Trans-Mongolian railroad, connecting to the Trans-Siberian in Ulan-Ude by the Lake Baikal in Russia’s Buryatia region, then on to Novossibirsk and Moscow. The total duration of the trip was seven weeks, with about a week spent in each place before moving on.
As a portrait photographer, in addition to photographing places, I of course focused on people I met along the way. I photographed friends of friends, people I’d meet randomly or through social media, Airbnb hosts, friends I’d make in hostels, and, in Mongolia, friends of the nomadic family I stayed with.
For the duration of the whole trip I lived out of a carry-on-sized backpack, so I chose a camera based on size constraints. The entire body of work was photographed on a Fujifilm X100F digital camera, sometimes with a compact hotshoe flash. The camera turned out to be superb, surviving torrential rain in Hong Kong and desert sand in Mongolia, and has never let me down.
After wrapping up the trip and settling down in Europe, I decided to make a print zine from this project. This was in part because this body of work seemed like an ideal candidate, having a definite beginning and end. The trip has also been a big turning point in my life (moving halfway across the world), so it felt like making a physical object to commemorate this was appropriate.