Inspiration

Eastern Bloc: 7 Bulgarian Photographers

Bird In Flight is launching a new feature that will explore photographers in eastern Europe that have gained recognition in their homeland, but so far are little-known beyond its borders.

Eugenia Maximova, shooting a project about Balkan cuisine; Dimitry Stefanov, researching the subject of emigration; Nikola Mikhov, documenting the life of workers at five-star hotels; and other Bulgarian photographers and their work in Bird in Flight’s feature, “Eastern Bloc.”

Dimitry Stefanov, 27

Born in Pleven, has lived in Madrid for 14 years. He studied photography at EFTI School, and upon completing his studies he earned a grant as the most promising graduate of his class. Dimitry’s work has been published in One, NEQ, BG Press Photo and Capital. He participated in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2011.

Dimitry’s project “Bulgarian” is devoted to the problem of mass departure of youth from Bulgaria. “The country is not able to offer them anything worthwhile,” the author said. “With these photos, I wanted to show that I feel for young people: love, hate, the desire to struggle and overcome.”

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Boriana Katsarova, 33

Documentary photographer. Studied photography in the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts. Between 2007 and 2010 worked for Agence France-Press, currently freelancing. Works with the New York Times, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Der Siegel and Welt am Sontag.

Boriana began working on the project Freezing in the winter of 2012, when Bulgaria was covered in snow and temperatures fell below –20 °С. She documents the life of Bulgarians in the conditions of a natural cataclysm.

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Denislav Stoichev, 22

Born in Yambol, lives in Sofia. Earned awards from the BG Press Photo and Photoakademia contests. Works with National Geographic Bulgaria, Burn, Le Journal de la photographie and Capital. Studies journalism in Sofia University.

The main theme of Denislav’s work are the life of towns and villages of Bulgaria, family relations, and links to the past. Currently, Denislav is working on a project about Bulgarian youth and a film about his favorite streets in his native city.

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Eugenia Maximova

Born in Ruse, graduated from the University of Vienna with a major in journalism and communications. Works with GEO, National Geographic, Dei Zeit, The Guardian and Moscow News. Exhibited her works in Vienna, New York, Paris, Berlin, Zagreb and Sarajevo.

Her project “Kitchen Stories from the Balkans” reveals the life of the Balkan people through the prism of their culinary traditions. “Cuisine reflects a person’s self-perception,” Yegenia said. “It’s the embodiment of the lifestyle of Balkans and society as a whole.” In February 2014, “Kitchen Stories from the Balkans” was published with Eugenia’s photos and accompanying texts by Kristiana Kozhol.

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Nikola Mikhov, 32

Earned the Journalists Union of Bulgaria Photojournalism Award, was nominated for the Salon de la Photo prize in Paris. His first book Forget Your Past was recognized as among the year’s best photobooks by The British Journal of Photography and he was nominated for The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. Nikola is also the cofounder and curator of the platform for contemporary Bulgarian photographers, Bulgarian Photography Now, and the virtual museum of graphic design, Socmus.

While working on the project “Victoria Palace,” Nikola was hired as the administrator of the night shift in the eponymous five-star hotel in Paris. His photos portray the entire hotel staff, from its cleaners to its owners. The author pays particular attention to issues of hierarchy in French society and the status of the artist in contemporary realities.

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“text”: “Philippe Schmitt – Owner and Chairman, France”
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“text”: “Michael Erwin – Director of Sales, USA”
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“text”: “David – Bartender, Hong Kong”
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“text”: “Dinesh – Doorman, Sri Lanka”
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“text”: “Jean – Bellboy, Togo”
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“text”: “Maggie – Housekeeper, Reunion Island”
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“text”: “Tina – Chambermaid, DR Congo”
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“text”: “Carinne – Chambermaid, DR Congo”
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“text”: “Marie Laguerre – Cleaning lady, Haiti”
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“text”: “Silly – Valet, Mauritania”
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“text”: “Marie-Jose – Laundress, DR Congo”
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Elena Geroska, 24

Born in Skopje (Macedonia), studied photography in the National Academy of Theater and Film Studies in Sofia. Exhibited her work in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Austria. Her work was published in Vice, Max and Capital Light.

Her project “Being You” is Elena’s attempt to “get under the skin” of another person, placing herself in a setting familiar to them. “Not telling the viewer about the people whose lives I ‘lived,’ I allowed them, by looking at my self-portraits, to independently create an identity,” Elena says. It’s precisely that, in her view, that makes the viewer ponder on who these photos are about — her or her heroes.

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Reneta Gancheva, 20

Documental photographer from Sofia. Studies photography in the New Bulgarian University. Renata’s project Bango Vasil was published in Burn Magazine.

The theme of Reneta’s work is the life of Bulgarian youth. “I understand well how to communicate and work with them,” Reneta says. “But some things remain a riddle to me all the same.” Among her projects are photographs of students from graduating classes and a series of photos, Bango Vasil, about the celebration of Christmas Eve in Bulgaria. Now Reneta is working on the project x2 about young couples and how they express their feelings.

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