My grandfather in 1940. Photograph by Kiro of Smardan
This is a portrait of my grandfather, taken while he was doing his military service in 1940 Bulgaria (not part of the Axis yet). I discovered it last summer while perusing the stack of family photos at my parents’ house.
And it was one of the delights of my summer. I saw, in this picture, something in him I had not known but was so excited to discover it. I saw how he felt in that particular moment of his life and some truths he never told me; things I would’ve discussed with him if only he were around today. This picture gave me back a great piece of my own personal puzzle that I didn’t know existed but am so glad I found.
So, what could I do with this treasure? I plundered it from my parents’ collection without telling them, or my sister. My only justification was that it was just temporary and I would scan it and print it in large format and give them copies. Continue reading
Popular Photography from February 1954. Click on the image to view it large.
If you know my experience with old photography books, it is only logical to turn to magazines next and see how they fare at the distance of time. Do their topics seem outdated now? Their perspective silly? Do they provide a unique glimpse into what photography is, while giving us all a real-life demonstration of what endures? After all, magazines are meant to focus on the current and the fleeting, so this kind of fading of significance can only be expected. And it could help distill the significant out of the passing and lead us to a conclusion on the meaning of timeless art.
That’s how I started going through a stack of photo magazines dating from the 50s on. Continue reading
This is a small selection of the work I completed at the Old School Art Residency. Since the theme was based on legends about the end of the world interpreted as a beginning, I used expired film from a country that no longer exists (East Germany) and expired paper from now privatized companies. The images I made show archetypal vignettes representing our expectations and anxieties related to endings and beginnings. Continue reading
St. Elijah mass in a village church, Bulgaria. @ Ellie Ivanova, 2012
Anyone who has been in an Eastern Othodox church in Europe has admired the beautiful iconography and ethereal atmosphere of those architectural gems. But if you’ve attempted to take a picture to record your experience, you’ve probably been stopped by the stern voice of the priest. Or you’ve seen the “no photography” sign at the door and didn’t even dare raise the camera to your eye. And maybe you’ve felt both frustrated and puzzled by this prohibition.
So, why is photography in an Orthodox church frowned upon, even outside of mass? Is it a practical necessity or a doctrine? After all, the reason some priests give is: “this is a church, you can’t take pictures here”; it’s not that they forbid just the use of flash for fear of ruining the frescoes. Some would add that it’s disrespectful, others, that it’s too secular an act for a church.