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
If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know what I think about travel photography – but that’s travel photos as a final product and as an approach. The experience itself though is quite another matter. And I am not talking about traveling to photograph for a project; what I have in mind is traveling for other purposes – even for fun – while being a photographer. As anyone with any level of personal investment in photography has discovered, that can be an exhilarating or an excruciating experience. Here’s why:
1. You see images everywhere. Not just people, places and things, but images with deeper meaning behind them. You enjoy the new sights in a different way. On my flight from Milan to Hamburg last week, I saw the two flight attendants working the aisle with trays in their hands. When they tried to pass each other, they faced in opposite directions and lifted the trays up simultaneously. An instant, beautiful, graceful image that struck me as a lightning – and made me sad since my camera was packed under the seat… You can’t stop being a photographer even if you have something else on your mind!
2. Just like it happens among dog owners, having a camera in hand connects you to other camera-bearers. They start a small talk about your camera and flaunt their own and include you in some sort of an instant camaraderie. You are a part of the tribe 🙂 Continue reading
Julia Roberts as photographer Isabel in "Stepmom"
I started my blog tradition of photography-centered movie reviews with the intention to discuss the photographic aspect of certain iconic films. But so far those reviews have focused on something else rather neglected: the role of photography and photographers in society. (See my posts on Everlasting Moments, in which photography empowers a woman in an abusive relationship, and The Bridges of Madison County, about a photographer whose job is to discover beauty but also deprives him of social ties).
Stepmom (1998, with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon) is about the opposite: the power of photography to create relationships yet also to make people vulnerable to an invented reality. Isabel, the new girlfriend of divorced dad Luke, tries hard to connect with his kids, but they reject her. Maybe because their mom sabotages those attempts. Or maybe it’s Isabel’s high-pressure job as a fashion photographer that makes her distracted and impatient and she only has a vision of a false reality. Continue reading
My photo Grandma’s Dress will be part of the Day of the Dead exhibit at the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas, from October 17 to November 14. Taken in Bulgaria last summer, at my grandparents’ house.