Alexandra Patova is a photographer based in Bulgaria. In her beginings she didn’t have a clear idea of what kind of things interested her. Digital age was there and she had not a powerful digital camera, she had her film cameras and expired rolls. However, she was faithful to her ideas. Her photographs show us moments of everyday life, the world of dreams, and genuine intimate photography. Viewing her work is a pleasure, pure romance and true statement of feelings.
Seeking Magazine: How did you get started with photography? Are you trained or self taught?
Alexandra Patova: My first steps in photography were really boring and typical, I liked beautiful pictures full of colour and pretty girls, but I couldn’t make this kind of photography. I was confused and did not understand anything. Everybody everywhere was talking about “the great digital photography”, I lived with the idea that my photos were bad, because I didn’t have an expensive digital camera. I spent maybe a year with these kind of thoughts, until one day I was unexpectedly introduced to medium format photography. My first images with Lubitel and expired b&w films from East Germany and USSR – i found fascinating – it changed my perceptions really fast. After two months my understanding about photography turned 180 degrees. In a moment I felt sure the attracting power of photography is in the magic, all these caught still moments look separate from reality, no matter how realistic onе photo is, the stillness of the frame makes it magical. Of course I am not talking about every picture one can see on the net.
I’ve not studied photography. In the beginning I was thinking that this is the only way to learn how to shoot, but then I realized that practice is a good enough teacher, communicating with people, searching for an information and trying to further. This is the way I explore photography
SM: What does it mean for you the photography?
AP: Still can’t find an answer to this question. Sometimes I try to not be so serious about the place that photography occupies in my life. Yet every time I shoot and something happens it makes me feel good and complete.
SM: What do you want to show or tell us in your photographs?
AP: Well, generally I don’t want to tell anything. One of the reasons I like photography is the freedom it gives for understanding and discovering ideas and emotions. I prefer to provoke the imagination, than to tell objective stories with images… and the funny thing is that one can do this even with a concrete classic portrait of somebody.
SM: What inspires you, and what doesn’t?
AP: I find inspiration everywhere, from daily life to unusual events. I love to observe people’s expression, their moods and characters. What doesn’t inspire me is the obviousness.
SM: Tell us about your series ‘Magic’.
AP: My series ‘Magic’ is something akin to work in progress. It is not a line I am following logically, it is not a concept that occupies my thinking before a shoot This series in main, represents the most spontaneous pictures I take… it is about catching the right moment and mood. When I select photos for it I look for simplicity, this the most important aspect for this series. I see magic in ordinary stuff, the things usually we pass by without even noticing them. A white wall could be as magical as a previously hidden unknown treasure, the difference is in our perceptions. I set myself to look around with unfixed eyes ,sense people and things in different way. I want to keep this feeling, to preserve this image.
SM: You use analog cameras and film in your work. What gives you the film compared with digital?
AP: I don’t have experience with digital cameras so I can’t really compare the two technologies. What I like in analogue photography is the fact that I don’t see the results immediately, I value highly surprise, it gives me feeling of unsecured and lose ground. The lack of safety is part of the whole photography happening. Also I like the variety of films, every kind of film has its own characteristics, I can use the specifics to achieve different results… and there is something else. I love shooting with old cameras.
SM: What does a day in the life of Alexandra?
AP: Mainly ordinary stuff: working, shooting, reading books, watching movies, meeting people…
SM: What is your favorite past time?
AP: I am not sure I have such. For example I am in love with the european movies from 60′s and 70′s (20th century), the american fashion and music from 20′s, the russian literature from 19th century and beginning of 20th… Every era has its own charm and one can like the cultural aspects
SM: When you’re not taking pictures what do you enjoy doing?
AP: I enjoy reading books very much, also watching good movies, they provoke thoughts and ideas. In the summer I prefer to spend more time near to the sea…
SM: Your projects, wishes for tomorrow.
AP: I prefer to keep this for myself, call it artistic superstition. I would like to make a collaboration work with one of my favorite photographers, but let’s leave this for tomorrow.Tweet