A man hides from the rain, using his coat while watching a street spectacle in Jambol, Bulgaria.
Sometime after her 40th birthday, Grandma Todorka, then a widow and mother of two sons, had a vision of God. She vividly remembers how God told her to give her children up for adoption in a foster home and to dedicate her life to serving the church in her home town, Berkovitsa. Then the church hadn’t been functional. But Grandma Todorka followed her vision and did as told. For the next 40 years she helped the church’s priest restore the building and open it for the public. She volunteered as a servant in the church until the rest of her life. On these two photographs, Grandma Todorka is 87 years old.
In April, I sought out Grandma Todorka in the church to give her a copy of her portrait. But the church’s priest told me he had to relieve her of her services. She had grown too old and weak to be able to help. So, I visited her at her home. On this photograph, Grandma Todorka sits on one of the beds in the only room she occupies in her house, where she lives alone. Throughout the years, she had collected many icons. “From all the Saints, I love most Jesus Christ,” she told me that day, pointing at an icon portraying him. Daily, she enjoyed sitting on her bed and gazing at her icons.
I met Vasko at a convenience store in 2009. He was buying tea. Without hesitation, I asked him if he wished that I took his portrait because I liked his features. He agreed and gave me his number. Several days later we met up in front of his apartment located on Puzitano Street in the central part of Sofia. I took his photograph there. But during our time spent together he revealed to me that he is the cousin the then president of Bulgaria, George Parvanov. He even showed me photographs of their last dinner together.
Bulgaria. January 2009
I frequently run into Pury, as he is called, at the famous Sofia market called Women’s Market, located at the centre of the city. When I was taking his portrait he told me he got most of his tattoos on his body in prisons across Bulgaria. He spent half of his life in prison. His tattoos are far from perfect as the they were done by other prisoners with improvised tools and any materials they could find in the prisons. Many of his tattoos depict people who were close to him somehow, like his lovers or friends, and some of his tattoos are just drawings of different objects and symbols.
Sofia, Bulgaria. March 2010
Resilovo, Bulgaria. November 2010
I encountered this man, who is a Bulgarian gypsy, when I visited Osikovitsa village while working on my personal project on Roma People. He was sitting on the stairs in front of his home’s door, talking to a group his friends and relatives.
Bulgaria. April 2009
Kremikovtsi, Bulgaria. November 2008
Slivnitsa, Bulgaria. October 2010
Bulgaria. February 2009