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Pavel Badzhakov /Pavzo/: “The fine photography has exactly the same vibration as the music”

February 15, 2010 by · No comments

Petia Petkova’s interview with the photographer Pavel Badzhakov /Pavzo/

Translation by Maria Aladzhova


“I was born in the most beautiful city of Bulgaria – Plovdiv – 31 and a half years ago, in the month of the most horned sign, so of course all of my sentences start with the word “I”… My occupation has been photography for nearly 13 years now, and the other – music – has lasted a little bit longer than that . Let’s just say that both muses found me “by chance”.

I would like to start with your first photography exhibition – “Photography and music,” which is now showing in Plovdiv. When did you have the idea to do it?

The exhibition “Photography and music,” which is being shown at the moment, came to me in the spur of the moment and was realized as a project in a very short time. It’s something very close to me, like a person, because it combines the loves of my life – photography and music – in one. The opening was not long ago, on the 10th of November, 2009, and I had the pleasure of being with friends among many photographs of my favourite music events.

The idea came up in a casual conversation, in which I said that I had always imagined my own first exhibit to be of fashion photography, something that I have done for many years now… However… in this case, the music got the upper hand over fashion. I had a chance to photograph world famous musicians, some of whom I met personally – the experience which gave me unique emotions.

Among the musicians I met are names like Mark Small – Michael Buble’s saxophone player; recently I was the official photographer at “Plovdiv Jazz Nights” of 2009, where I met and gave unique frames to Billy Cobham from his last visit to Bulgaria. He honored me with a thank you letter, of which I am very proud and also proud of what I have accomplished with photography. I have photographed my dear friends Lubo Kirov, Beloslava, Maria Ilieva… I have a sequence of Orlin from when the project “Kaffe”(“Coffee”) existed, of Vlado from “Safo”, of Javor from GravityCo, Milcho Leviev, Vicky Almazidou, Theodosii Spassov and more and more….

The music united us, but on the other hand the photography added to the emotion. I also photographed the jazz legend Randy Brecker who is a unique and positive person. As for the music and the concerts, I almost never miss to see the greatest musicians live. And if I can photograph it gives me a great deal of happiness. This is a part of me that stimulates me to create in every single moment.


You say that you don’t look at the photography as a work. How can you explain that?

I will never look at the photography as a work, because the satisfaction that it gives me in the moments of creating every frame can’t be called “work”. The process of creating, the time and the pictures are one, which is my own philosophy in life. I would be glad if more and more people find and fight for their dreams and desires because it’s the only thing that could make them really happy. I don’t understand the people who put up with their destinies.


In Bulgaria the word “positivism” is a dirty word – something that I have never seen in such large proportions anywhere in the world. The illiteracy which is spread amongst young people in Bulgaria has exactly the same proportions and that irritates me.


Except of photography you are also engaged in music professionally. How do you balance between those two?

I quit playing music professionally 5-6 years ago. Back then my band “eGO” won the BG radio award for young talents of Bulgaria. Then I met the unique person Lubo Kirov, who became the producer of the radio version of our band’s first song.


Music is the thing that makes me wake up every morning with a smile on my face, to get of the bed and send to all of my friends my positive messages so that someone could smile like I do. I am a very active person and in this situation, the music had united me with amazing people and had given me lots of emotions, experience and moments. At the moment I proceed in the music in a photographic way. At the moment I am in the process of planning the photo shoot with one of the most famous soul singers in Bulgaria.


Sometimes I write lyrics to songs, sometimes I record the vocals to some of them. I start singing at the moment I open my eyes in the morning. It’s full of unique people around me – artists from musicians to painters, designers… This is one of the best things in my life. I don’t have a balance between music and photography. They are the same thing to me.


As a fashion photographer, does it mean that you prefer a photograph directed by you, or do you like the spontaneous photograph?

The fine photography has exactly the same vibration as the music. It brings you mood, makes you think, remember, share. Sharing is the new old religion of the modern society. The emotion and positive energy never disappear. It’s weird how people spend so much time destroying something and how little it takes to make someone to smile… If you have the ambition everything is possible! It surprises me to see people who haven’t realized that yet when everything is so simple…



The fashion photography “appeared” after my experience as a model. I was a model for four years, time in which I learned everything about the business and its structure. Turned out that it wasn’t for me and as I often say, I turned to the dark side… and started photographing. The directed photograph is a compulsory homework in our job. You can’t find a photographer which respects his job and doesn’t prepare concept of the session (photo shoot). Usually it starts with the basic plan, then there are the details and finally we do a storyboard which will follow the concept.

тхис оне

The spontaneity is a well directed accident in the fashion photography. The hard work and experience pay up when you manage to put your idea in this “accident” and this is captured and remembered by the viewer. Everything in our craft is done for His Majesty, The Viewer, The Consumer, The Purchaser.


Have you photographed many celebrity models? What influences you in your choice?

I have photographed almost all of the famous Bulgarian models. This is the acknowledgement of my clients and their trust in my experience in the business. The choice of a model usually happens when we know what type of photography we are going to do… It’s very important that the model steps into the role, of which he/she is asked to. Фотогеничността? in this case gets the upper hand over the beauty. It’s easy working with professional models.



They are disciplined and aware of the price of the time and quality of the final product. It’s very important that all of the participants in one project know that. I have worked with Matlda Savova, Vlado Stamatov, Alexandra Stoilova, Rosi Ivanova, Viktoria Djumparova, Tedi Velinova, Vania peicheva, Krasi Nestorova, Geri Jeliazkova, Tsveti Krasteva, Eli Frolikova, Niki Iliev, Rumi Shencheva, Kristina Nestorova, Iana Ilieva, Pavlina Eneva, Gabriela Kostova, Radmila Milenkovich, Violeta Sechkova, Milkana Kamisheva, Nikoleta Lozanova, Desi Kovacheva, Maria Ignatova, Mirela Bayraktarova etc., all of them great models. Many of them work abroad and bring fame to the Bulgarian beauty. Some of them are very young but ambitious and hard-working, which make them professionals.



It’s not a common thing in Bulgaria to give credits to the models and the crew you work with, which is exorbitantly offensive. This is why I always say the names of the people I work with and without whose work and help my photographs wouldn’t be possible. Here I have to mention Slav Anastasov, Iva Petrova, Pepi Hadjiteneva, Silvia Stoicheva, Krisi Nestorova, Kostadin Litov etc., they give everything they can when it comes to make up and styling and making a photograph a magnificent piece of art.



Is the beauty of the models you photograph the only thing that inspires you?

Beauty is not the only main force in fashion photography. A model can fascinate you with her hair, lips, eyes… I try to make the vision of models, that aren’t “commercial” in the meaning known in Bulgaria. The eyes are the thing that catch my eye immediately. I work with a couple of models who have amazing eyes. In this case beauty doesn’t come to the fore. Back then everything was view, besides looking “bad” (laughs).



What else besides models do you like to photograph?

I will have to repeat myself but music is what I love to photograph after fashion photography. Frames of mine are published in many private collections, as the most famous of them is one night view of Plovdiv, which had been taken many years ago, but still provokes emotions by the people, when they understand which was the city shot… But when I take pictures of music – I am furious.



There is the rhythm that leads me, my favourite bass guitar that tells stories, the drums that measure the rhythm of my heart … I can photograph music until I faint… This is what happened at “Plovdiv Jazz Nights” of 2009… not to mention the musicians that were there… I’ll leave them without a comment because they are great people and great individuals in one. My colleagues asked me when did I manage to take photos of the event.


Right now my frames are shown at “International Photographic Salon Varna ″ which is the most prestigious place for photography exhibitions in Bulgaria and at the same time a forum for photographers from all over the world showing their best work in different categories, so keep your fingers crossed!


For which Bulgarian magazines and fashion houses have you worked?

I have worked for many fashion houses. Companies like Forest Jeans, Lady Like, Rollmann, Gizia, Dor Dis, Andrews Fashion, Morroa, Etere, lots of fashion houses for wedding dresses. I have worked on projects for big companies like Bulgartabac, KCM S.A., ParkMall, Planet Club, Total, Party Club, Hitachi Constructions, Interra Design, Galaxy Property Group and many more of this range.



I heard about two of your upcoming exhibitions. Would you like to tell us more about that?

Right now I am spending most of my time working on the biggest project I have ever done, а именно СКУАПФИ – Сдружение за Колективно Управление на Авторски права върху Фотографски Изображения. This is something absolutely unfamiliar and neglected in Bulgaria but I think that the time has come for the business to go in this direction because by his law and culture the Bulgarian is very badly informed when it comes to his work, his intellectual skills and his rights…



It was interesting at the beginning when I announced my intention to create this project, many have tried to convince me not to do it… Well, it’s a fact now and only time will show if I’m on the right road! I know that I am! There already are cases of abuse and insolent attitudes from big companies against authors’ right of many colleagues – topics that haven’t been commented in public because of the fear and insecurity of the photographers … There is a change to be made… People in Bulgaria are yet to talk about authors’ rights on photographic images. I promise!



As for my upcoming exhibitions, one of them is going to take place soon. On 12.12.2009 in a night club in Sofia I will do a multimedia presentation of my fashion photographs. I hope people will like it.

The real big exhibition is in a process in the making, probably it will start in Plovdiv and finish in Sofia as a presentation. I plan on the photographs being big and memorable. But as for that I will inform you later on so that we could have what to talk about…

To the readers of Public-Republic I wish not to stop smiling, because in the smile is hiding the key to the hearts of the others!
Thank you for your attention!

This year Pavel will participate in “International Photographic Salon Varna ″ 2009, which is the most important photographic event in Bulgaria!

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