When did you interest in photography begin?
As a child, I remember that my father was very passionate and took pictures. Thanks to this, my family now has photographed memories. He had learned to take pictures on his own and had set up a makeshift photo studio in an old workshop. He gave us tweezers to shake the paper in the detergent basin as the image slowly began to appear on it. When it showed up completely, we were overwhelmed with euphoria and we started shouting “look at her – grandma”, “look at us here with the balls”. This is a very bright and good memory from childhood. I think it’s all started back then.
Why did you decided to become portrait photographer?
I must clarify, here, that I am an actor, actually and after 25 years of tireless work I became one of the leading actors in Bulgaria. I already have over 35 main theatrical roles in our biggest theaters, behind me, led by the National Theater of Bulgaria. Many starring roles in TV series and movies. I was the host of the world format “Survivor” for 5 seasons. All this time I was filmed – in the movies, in TV series, for magazine covers and interviews, for commercials, for TV interviews and shows. All this time I was gaining experience watching photographers and cameramen. I started shooting faces because you can find the unique story of the person in the faces. The eyes are the door to our soul. As an actor, I have been fascinated by human history all my life, I have recreated it on stage and in movies. Now I’m interested in finding interesting people, taking pictures of them and telling their stories through photography.
How would you describe your style?
I photograph the common man. I like this the most. To find him and photograph him on his territory. As it is. I’m trying to capture the moment. Studio photography, in which everything is planned and adjusted, is a bit boring for me. There are challenges in it too, but I’m interested in searching, capturing, and showing unique faces with a story. Maybe my style is some kind of Authentic Photography that comes close to reportage.
It is very valuable to me because I later saw my father’s eyes in this man. There is something very resigned about him. There is peace of mind, which I really like.Vladimir
What kind of camera(system) and lenses do you use?
Technology is not the most important thing to me. I have portraits taken by amateur cameras without any extras. For me, the processing, the model, the situation, the story and what the photographer wants to tell are important. The phone is also a good tool and should not be underestimated. Otherwise, I shoot with Panasonic LX 100, Fuji X-T2 with the whole set of XF lenses, Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with the whole set of EF lenses, Mavic Pro2, analog camera and Plus One phone.
What are some of the qualities of a great portrait?
The most important thing is that the photographer really likes the model. Then there is a thrill that triggers photographer’s creative side. It is important that the portrait is not just a photo, but turns into an art. Light also plays a leading role. I try to shoot in natural light and always watch for sunrises or sunsets. This makes things even more complicated for my portraits. But it is all worthed, because then something really beautiful and natural happens.
What challenge have you overcome as a photographer?
The biggest challenge was crossing the ocean of mediocre photography that flooded the internet and social media. Everyone shoots and everyone is a photographer. I started looking for ways to get away from it and started shooting on another level. I realized that my profession as an actor would help me with that. I realized that there had to be a story in my shots. And then the big competitions started to notice me, to win prizes, to be followed by very good photographers. And then maybe I felt like I was separated from the simple click.
What’s a new skill you’ve learned recently, either personally or professionally?
I couldn’t handle a simple flash. Those placed on the device, reportage type. I’ve never liked photos taken with such a flash. But once I was thinking that there were ways to use it the way I wanted and to do different things with it. So I made an effort to learn its features and functionality. Then I started experimenting. And I realized that because of prejudice I was deprived of something very useful for portrait photography.
Professionally, what was your highest high and lowest low?
I reached the finals of Smithsonian Magazine in two completely different categories – Portrait and Macro. I am glad that one of the photos is a portrait of a child, which most accurately shows the type of photography I like and strive for. This is a boy I found in a remote mountain village. Now the photo is being seen by the world, and it can be voted for. I also had many medals and first places from many world competitions, mostly with portraits. I can’t say the lowest low, because there is really not. Everything around me as a photographer developed very quickly and with great results. Photography brings me a lot of joy, especially when my shots are noticed by competent juries at major competitions.
What are your five-year goals?
I really want to fulfill a huge project of mine for the villages in one of the most mystical mountains in my country. These villages are very interesting because of the people living there. They are different and have great stories. I want to tell the world about these people and create an album about the everyday life, the routines and the way of life in general of these people, I want to show their faces to the world.
Can you share a portrait that you have made, that is special to you?
Please tell us why it’s special and important to you.
Here is a shot and a short story about it: Coincidence took me to the only still working cooperative in our country. And not just working, but full of life. They raise and breed a rare breed of sheep. They had about 2000. This is one of their caretakers. He has spent his whole life there. A modest man who allowed me to photograph him. This man knows everything about raising animals and nothing about the modern way of life. It is very valuable to me because I later saw my father’s eyes in this man. There is something very resigned about him. There is peace of mind, which I really like.