Ints Kalnins

Ints Kalnins

Based
Riga, Latvia
Born
Jelgava, Latvia
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 1D Mark IV, 5D Mark II
“I respect the people in my pictures. They are my heroes; they help me tell my story.”

Beat

I cover politics, business stories, sports, human-interest pieces and events.

One Shot

AGLONA, Latvia. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
Girls receive instructions as they wait to attend a procession during the celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Aglona, Latvia.
“I don’t have a stand-alone favourite image. But I like this one because of the positive emotions it creates.”

Profile

I taught myself photography step by step, learning from my good shots, lucky shots and total disasters. And of course I studied the best examples of photojournalism since the profession began.

To my mind, learning photography isn't just about techniques or composition, it's about broad and continuous self-education. A good photojournalist should have knowledge of lots of different areas: economics, politics, culture and sports, and should also be well informed about trends globally and locally.

I got my first assignment in 1983. At that time I was doing photography as a hobby, when one day the brother of a university classmate, who was a professional photojournalist, asked me to take some simple shots of a handball team training session. He briefly explained what kind of picture his paper needed and I agreed. The job got done, the pictures were... so-so. But one was published.

After that first picture was published I decided to go to cover an important basketball game. I had no press pass, a simple East German Practica camera and only one 50mm lens. I don’t remember how I got there, but I got a great shot that was published on the front page. It changed my life and I switched from being a history teacher to a photojournalist.

Stories about human tragedies always make me feel awful. I felt that way after I covered the earthquake in Armenia in 1988 and after I shot a story just a few weeks ago about a nice Swedish girl named Emelie who suffered from narcolepsy. Why? Because you should always put yourself in the shoes of your subjects to tell a true story. That process puts a lot of pressure on my feelings. Other people’s pain is my pain too.

I respect the people in my pictures. They are my heroes; they help me tell my story. For me, they are the most important of all.

Behind the Scenes

Sigulda, Latvia. Valda Kalnina
Reuters Photographer Ints Kalnins covers a World Cup luge event in Sigulda, Latvia.
Ignalina, Lithuania. Valda Kalnina
Kalnins holds his camera gear in Ignalina nuclear power station in Lithuania.