"He did not think of himself as a tourist; he was a traveller. The difference is partly one of time, he would explain.
Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveller, belonging
no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly, during periods of years, from one part of the earth to
another. Indeed, he would have found it difficult to tell, among the many places he had lived, precisely
where it was he had felt most at home".
Mikhail EVSTAFIEV (b. 1963) has divided his life between art and hardcore history.
Since childhood, inspired by the work of his mother, grandmother and great grandfather – all Russian sculptors - he has been drawing, working with clay and mixing oil colours on canvases.
He also began photographing at an early age. His father, who worked in radio broadcasting for most of his career, taught him the basics of camera work and darkroom techniques, and got him interested in journalism.
Growing up in Moscow, he spent many hours in his mother's and grandmother's studios, but eventually chose a different path, graduating from the Moscow State University with a Master's in International Journalism.
In the mid 1980s, he began work as a reporter for TASS News Agency, and later volunteered to serve in Afghanistan.
During a two-year tour of duty, he spent as much time amongst the 'grunts' of war, out in the firing line, as with the top brass.
After the war, in the 1990s, he wrote and published in Russian the novel "Two Steps from Heaven". The novel is considered as a good example of Russian "accurate fiction", which puts a human face on the Soviet soldier without sparing the gory details like the top-down authority and license for physical punishment and humiliation within the Soviet Army, the mental suffering young soldiers and officers endured during their dramatic 10 year experience in Afghanistan, or the gruesome killings of innocent Afghan civilians.
Some chapters are available in English translation online. U.S. servicemen in Afghanistan have offered praise for the book and the way it describes the reality of Afghanistan.
An Mi-8 transport helicopter delivers supplies to a Soviet outpost near Kabul, 1988.
As a journalist, Mikhail Evstafiev covered the break-up of the Soviet Union, the political and daily life scene in Moscow, conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chechnya, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Tajikistan and Transdniestria.
He worked for Agence France-Presse and later for REUTERS, first in Moscow, and then in London and Washington D.C., leaving the agency in 2003.
He now lives with his family in Vienna, Austria. He devotes his time to painting and also advises international organizations on communication and public relations matters.
Mikhail Evstafiev's photography and art work has been exhibited broadly, including in China, Europe, Russia and the United States.
His paintings and photographs are in the collections of the Moscow House of Photography and SOLMS, Gallery der Leica Camera AG, and in private collections and galleries in Andorra, Austria, Britain, Canada, France, Poland, Russia and the United States.
His work appeared in leading international magazines and newspapers and was published in numerous books, including Afghanistan: lifting the veil, Prentice Hall, 2002; Love: A Celebration of Humanity, William Morrow, 2001; Facing the World: Great Moments in Photojournalism, Harry N Abrams, 2001; Magic Moments II, Leica World, 2000. His work is listed in "Allgemeines Kuenstlerlexikon" (The World Biographical Dictionary of Artists), 2003 edition.
«Он не считал себя туристом; он был путешественником. Разница, как он себе разъяснял, отчасти во времени. Турист, как правило, по истечении нескольких недель или месяцев спешит домой, путешественник же, не привязанный к какому-то конкретному месту, медленно бредёт, порой годами, от одного уголка земли к другому. По правде говоря, он сам вряд ли смог бы определить, какое из тех многих мест, где ему довелось жить, было именно тем, где он чувствовал себя как дома».
Михаил Евстафьев родился в Москве в 1963 г.
Живописью и фотографией начал заниматься в раннем возрасте. Выпускник факультета журналистики МГУ, два года служил в Афганистане, работал корреспондентом и редактором в информационных агентствах Рейтер, Франс-Пресс, ТАСС.
Его фотографии и живопись находятся в музеях, галереях и частных коллекциях разных стран мира.
Член Союза писателей и Союза фотохудожников России.