Q&A: The Toronto photographer capturing 2019’s most iconic moments
From behind-the-scenes shots of Drake at his most relaxed, to snapping picks amongst the chaos in the front row of A$AP Rocky’s latest tour, Kishan Mistry (@kishanmistry) has been climbing photography ranks by capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments on camera.
Snapping some of music’s biggest stars on stage might have been his initial calling, but a slight pivot towards sports photography has taken his portfolio to new heights.
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The Toronto Raptors current playoff run has Kishan capturing some of his favourite moments ever and getting some serious recognition for it. Dozens of massive Instagram accounts have re-posted his playoff photos, exposing his work to millions of people and snagging tens of thousands of likes. Oh, he personally snagged a little TV spot as well. Not bad at all, Mr. Mistry.
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So, how does Kishan know when he’s got the type of picture that will blow up? Well, he relies a little on luck, a lot on technical ability and camera reliability, but above all else, on instinct. “(Getting the perfect picture) is more of a feeling…as cliche as that sounds,” says Kishan, “it’s more about being in the right spot in the right time…you gotta pick and choose your spots, and then make decisions on the fly”.
It’s obvious that ‘going with his gut’ has turned out well for the Toronto kid, who’s full-time job has him handling graphic design and sports photography for Yahoo Sports Canada.
According to Kishan, his personal ranking of “favourite photo I’ve ever taken” has changed 4 times during these playoffs alone. Initially, from a pic of Kawhi Leonard with Drake in the background to Kawhi shooting over Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. That lasted until Kishan caught Kawhi emphatically dunking on Embiid only a game later. The must-see moments kept happening, and Kishan kept snapping heat during each one.
Then came the do-or-die game seven in Toronto, and Kawhi once again created a picture perfect moment. Sure enough, Kishan was there to make it immortal.
On the subject of the Kawhi buzzer-beater pic that has damn-near broken the internet, Kishan isn’t shy about it being the favourite picture he’s ever taken. On his personal Instagram, he went as far as captioning the pic, “When I die, bury me with this photo god damn”. Can’t say we blame him, it’s as cold as a photo gets and definitely an iconic capture.
“I want to get a photo that sums up the whole thing”
He does, however, admit that there one of the main factors in capturing a shot like that is straight-up, good old-fashioned luck. “What if Kawhi shot from the other side of the court? What if I was sitting lower and couldn’t capture the crowd? What if I was shooting from the floor and able to capture more facial expressions?” These are the types of questions Kishan considers, but not factors that he can necessarily control.
That’s why he enters each and every event with the same idea, “I want to get a photo that sums up the whole thing,” says Kishan. “When people look back on the event, I want them to think of that photo…that goes for sports, concerts, everything (I shoot).”
Now, it’s not only Instagram accounts dedicated to hoop fans or Toronto-centric companies who have been plugging his work. Kishan has had his A$AP Rocky photos re-posted on Complex, plenty of Drake photos end up all over the web and on big accounts, and even a New York Times feature (of the most recent Kawhi photo, in fact).
If you haven’t noticed, Canada’s favourite (and only) basketball team has been grabbing headlines around the sports world. The Toronto Raptors are entering the Eastern Conference Finals for only the second time in franchise history. The first time was back in 2016, and the Raps, unfortunately, had to face a Lebron at the peak of his game. Lebron won, Raps lost, and Canada’s basketball fans had to wait for another shot at glory.
Cue Kawhi Leonard heroics and the heart-and-soul Toronto Raptors of 2019. This year, the Raptors will be taking on Giannis Antetenkoumpo AKA “The Greek Freak”, and the Milwaukee Bucks to see who comes out King of the East. Sure enough, Kishan Mistry will be there to capture the absolute best moments possible.
“There’s a feeling that Toronto has right now,” Kishan says, “you can’t pull off that insane buzzer-beater and then go out and lose in a sweep…that’s not going to happen. I wanna say it’ll go six or seven games, and I’m going to say the Raptors are taking it.” We certainly hope he’s right because we’re not ready to stop seeing iconic moments and their equally iconic pictures.
If you’re a fan of Kishan’s work, make sure to follow him on Instagram. If you’re a fan of the Toronto Raptors, Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, and concerts, then you should probably follow him too. Below is a little sneak peek of the fire you’ll constantly see on his feed. Oh, and no, Kishan Mistry doesn’t believe in the Drake curse.