Zheny

Venue: Sofia city centre

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4

Music: Loic Nottet – Million eyes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68EnJITH-5Q)

The concept of our photos with Zheny was quite simple: we go out in the evening in central Sofia, searching for a suitable light and a nice background. Unlike my last few photoshoots, there were no extra props and pets with us so we could really concentrate on Zheny’s look and outfit. She came very prepared with a brand new haircut and a set of clothes to change, so we only needed to search for the right spot in several areas we had previous discussed. So here comes the outcome – three sets of photos for three different places and outfits.

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Our first choice fell on the main orthodox cathedral in Sofia, Alexander Nevsky. This is still a test photo which helped us figure out which side of the cathedral was more appropriate.
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And here start our true shots with Zheny in a formal dress, fitting to the church spirit.
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A black&white version with a more timeless feel.
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Another angle of the cathedral, at which point Zheny decided it’s time to let her hair loose and we headed off to the next photo spot.
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After a short break to change clothes at the club Zheny is working in as a PR, we headed to the administrative centre of Bulgaria – the square where the houses of the president and the government are situated. It is quite empty and well lit up at night, so it was a good place for our purposes.
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Unfortunately the light seemed a little bit too strong on the photos, so we tried to find a side spot close to the main department store in the old socialist times.
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This is the kind of light we aimed for..
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..so we tried quite a few poses before changing the outfit and the place for one last time.
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And these are the tram railways on “Graf Ignatiev” street, where we decided to make some more casual photos going along with the street appearance around us.
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Cars are not allowed to enter the street so we had plenty of time to try various fun and provocative poses, only disturbed occasionally by the passing trams.
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And when trams did pass I tried to fit them in the shot, as seen here and on the top photo.
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We also tried some shots with the graffiti on the side of the street, but it was getting late so we decided to call it a day and think of other photo concepts in the future.
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Kami & Charlie

Venue: My place and surroundings, Sofia

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4

Music: Moloko – Forever more (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfo1878wd60)

Probably my most bizarre photoshoot must be the one with Kami, largely due to the presence of her little pet ferret Charlie who accompanied her. He is already several years old and she is taking care of him since he was still an underdeveloped baby ferret. It was a beautiful spring afternoon so we decided to take some outdoor street photos first and only after try some studio photos in my place. We had to leave Charlie roam around my bathroom when we got to my place as he got overly excited and so only Kami could pose for the studio photos. And this gives you the chance of choosing which set of photos you prefer – Kami vs. Kami & Charlie, indoor vs. outdoor. And to make it easier for you to decide (or maybe harder?) I decided to order them in an alternating way.

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Here is Kami in a blue shirt with a blue umbrella on a blue background. And a very colorful skeleton in front.
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And this is Charlie, resting peacefully on Kami’s shoulder and standing in front of some graffiti on the side of the street.
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Back to the studio with Kami and her fashionable lipstick shirt.
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And here is Charlie sticking his tongue out.
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Yellow shirt, hat, shades and balloons.
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And the curious expression of Charlie on a yellow background.
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Kami in a frame. Literally.
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And again changing colors and expressions.
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Kami playing with some balloons (leftover from my birthday some days earlier).
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Charlie looking slightly scared.
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And Kami looking very confident instead.
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In front of the house next door with its crumbling wooden fence.
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And finishing back inside with Kami and her blue umbrella.

Eli & Nadya

Venue: My place, Sofia

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4

Music: Coldplay – Yellow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKNxeF4KMsY)

After some thought on how to design it logistically, I managed to convert my apartment into a sort of amateur photo studio with the help of a piece of wire used for hanging clothes, a large bed sheet and a few fluorescent lamps. So this post marks my first (and hopefully not last) series of home-made studio photos. It is also the first post in which I decided to include only black and white photos (with the obvious exception of the picture on top) following the suggestions of several of you.

As you already read the title my first models in my new home studio were Eli and Nadya, but probably you didn’t immediately realize they are actually twin sisters. Eli has straight hair and is the more outspoken, while Nadya has curly hair and is the shy twin. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that most of the photos you’ll see are with Eli only. Here they come.

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Eli arrived first at my place and was well prepared with various clothes that we could experiment with, so we started with some urban style.
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And then tried some shots with the “Babe” t-shirt.
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Then also Nadya arrived so we tried some group photos..
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and some photos of Nadya only, but she got bored with posing much faster than her sister.
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So Eli changed into a new outfit with an artsy and was ready for more posing.

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At some point we decided to use my guitar as a prop. I tried to show Eli some chords so that she could pose more realistically, and this one is supposed to be E minor.
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But eventually we decided we can make good photos without her pretending to play.
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I also have a small drum that I bought as a souvenir from somewhere, so Nadya decided to join the band and make some noise.
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We also tried some more serious expressions, but switched back to more playful shots like the photo on top.
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Soon Nadya got tired from posing so we tried some more shots with Eli. Here I suggested her to do “the scream” of Edvard Munch as I like him a lot.
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And we finished off the photo shoot with some more fashion style poses.

Yoga with Renata

Venue: Mettasense yoga studio, Sofia

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4

Music: Dead can dance – Opium (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zReWPjreJzI)

Given the cold winter I didn’t have many opportunities to update my blog with new photos lately. Still, I did manage to make a few indoor photoshoots which I promise to show you. The first one is with Renata. She is a yoga instructor and had the idea to pose for some photos in her workplace, which is one of the new yoga studios in Sofia – Mettasense (http://www.mettasense.com/). I already had the chance to make some outdoor photos with yoga positions last summer with Adi (https://kirilson.com/2016/07/25/adi/) and was happy to try again in a more professional environment. So, relax and enjoy some yoga with Renata and my usual insightful comments.

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There were three different rooms in the yoga studio and we started with the most colorful of them, with Renata warming up with some easier (for her) exercises.
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A moment of concentration..
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..and a harder exercise including a sort of bridge.
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I already forgot the names of all the other yoga poses, so I won’t try to pretend I know what she was doing and how hard it is.
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Meanwhile we moved to the next, more “zen” looking room.
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This is a pose I most certainly won’t be able to make.
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And another one.
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Probably I can manage with this one!
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Moving on to the third room with water trickling peacefully on one of the walls and a cool image on the other one.
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A close-up of the pose you can see on the top photo.
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A head stand..
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..and a more tricky one for which Renata needed to be close to the wall for support. Shortly afterwards it was time for her next yoga class, which meant the end of the photoshoot for the moment. But who knows, maybe you’ll get to see some more yoga in the coming months.

Arti & Markha

Venue: Sofia Hotel Balkan

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4

Music: Philipp Kirkorov – Snow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1gYqJpJONg)

After two weeks of hibernation in the freezing Bulgarian winter it is finally time for a new post. And for a change the photo-focus in this post will be actually on a male model, Arti (Artiom). His girlfriend, Markha, wanted to have a photoshoot of both of them in a fancy hotel room in Sofia. The secret extra mission I had was to mostly focus my attention on Arti as Markha wanted to make him a birthday present by selecting her preferred photo and converting it to a nice painting. So I tried to not only take group photos of the two of them but also make Arti pose for some photos solo. I was greatly helped by my assistant in this photoshoot, Katia, who had lots of nice and fun ideas about the positioning of the objects and models.

The room Markha decided to hire for the photoshoot was in the most iconic hotel in Sofia, presently known as Sofia Hotel Balkan. It was built in the socialist period of the country and was by far the most fancy hotel in Bulgaria back in the day, hosting all the official guests of the state. It is of course right in the centre of Sofia, just next to the houses of the parliament and the prime minister and president. And the view is towards the St. Nedelya square and the old orthodox church with the same name.

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The view from the hotel room.

And even if the hotel room was (understandably) slightly outdated for the present day standards, I think it still provided the classy look we were going after as a background for the photos which I decided to show you interchangeably in color and in black and white.

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This is at the start of the photoshoot with some classy clothes to match the setting.
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And some improvised poses around the chair.

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Here a shot of Arti only, who here reminds me a bit of his compatriot Putin.

Now that I mentioned Russia, I have to tell you more about the very interesting story of Arti and Markha. They are both of Russian origin, but were actually raised and live in Bulgaria. Artiom was raised in Burgas, while Markha in Varna – the two main seaside cities in Bulgaria. Eventually they both came to live Sofia, where Arti is pursuing a career in the show business. He is actually somewhat famous already as he participated very successfully in the Bulgarian version of the X factor show (which I have to admit I only learned afterwards) – for example you can see his first performance on the show (in Bulgarian): (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQNsE1znfdQ). And apart from his musical talent Arti clearly has the looks of a model so he was an equal match to Markha who has already posed for quite a few photographers in Bulgaria on various occasions. So now that you know their story, I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of our photoshoot.

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Here I managed to get a nice shot of Arti for the secret mission that Markha gave me. But in the end the winning phot she chose is another photo…
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This one, paradoxically! Clearly not my best shot, but of course the artist that made a painting out of it just drew Arti with his happy smile and filled in the rest of the church on the place of the spot from the curtain on the left.
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Of course at the time we were trying to make as many nice photos as possible…
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..and we tried various less standard ideas…
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as in this photo with Markha crawling on the table in front of Arti..
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and with Arti pretending to be a waiter serving coffee.
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Of course we also tried the bedroom with its dark red curtains.
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Yet another shot for my secret mission.
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Here we decided to switch into a more casual outfit and change the mood.

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There was also time for some fun smartphone shots where Arti was pretending to be swallowing the lights from the busy street traffic below.
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The evening came and Arti found a very cool hoodie in his bag..
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which made him look like Batman, watching over the city…no?
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We also tried to use the lamp as a microphone, but unfortunately I could not record the singing of Arti to show you the full performance.

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We went on changing settings and roles under the guidance of Katia who kept inventing scenes…
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like the one where Arti is supposed to be violent..
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or where they both look very seriously away from each other.
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And sometimes there’s no need for staged photos and one has to leave the models act naturally keeping them well-lit. By that time they were quite tired so it was time call it a day and go for dinner.

Desi & Vesi: fall edition

Venue: South park, Sofia

Lens: Nikkor 85 mm f/1.8

Music: John Lennon – Imagine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVg2EJvvlF8)

Several months after our first photoshoot with Desi and Vesi (https://kirilson.com/2016/07/03/desi-vesi/) we decided it was time for some new photos, this time in the South park in Sofia with the fall as a main theme. It was a warm day with plenty of fallen leaves and empty space in the park, and this time also Vesi was feeling very comfortable and ready for posing. So we set on searching for nice spots in the park and here’s a selection from the best shots we made.

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We started with some typical fall photos of Desi around the yellow leaves..
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..mixed with some of the usual posing shots.
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Then we switched to Vesi, while Desi was throwing fallen leaves at her.
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Here I asked them to look thoughtfully away from the camera, not sure how convincing they are.
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We also found a very old round-bench in the park and decided to try some shots.

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The girls were well prepared for the photos with some hats and different clothes that you’ll in the coming photos.
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Here and in the top photo I wanted to experiment with a more artsy, “still life” shot, making the girls look up and stay still for a while.
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Then we went on with some more standard fall photos in the leaves.

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After a short bathroom break for changing outfits, the girls were ready for more photos.
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We found a little pond in the park with some big pine trees on the side that provided a nice shade and background for photos.

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And Vesi put on a very cute yellow hat and green sweater, matching perfectly the colors of the trees.

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As you see we made quite a few photos around the pond and the trees..
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..with the girls taking turns in posing.
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And in the end two shots that I decided to retouch differently from the rest: here a portrait of Desi in darker tones and colors.
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And here Vesi in front of the lake in black and white.

As a final today I’d like to congratulate Desi and Vesi and all other students and to wish them happy celebrations since 8th December also happens to be the “university holiday” in Bulgaria.

Tsveti & Joy

Venue: “Borisova garden” park, Sofia

Lens: Nikkor 85 mm f/1.4

Music: Michael Buble – L.O.V.E. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPGEYRhQ_Kg) – Tsveti’s favorite

As everybody knows, the autumnal season is very suitable for photo shoots in the park with all the bright colors and the falling leaves. So it was just a matter of having some suitable weather before we go to the Borisova garden with Tsveti and Joy and some of our other friends for an afternoon walk and some photos. Tsveti is the little sister of Joy, who already featured in one of my older posts here (https://kirilson.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/joy/). She just started her university studies after moving from Plovdiv to Sofia and was very happy to pose for me, so hopefully you’ll get to see some more of her in the future.

Before the family photo shoot I had some time to walk around the park by myself and stumbled into some interesting sights that I hope you’ll enjoy as a little starter setting the stage, after which I’ll go to the two main subjects of the post.

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An anti-communist slogan against the Marxists on one of the remaining communist monuments in the park, written in German for some unknown to me reason.
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Nearby a girl was feeding one of the squirrels and I just couldn’t miss the chance to frame the moment.
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And here is Tsveti, in black and white.
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A warmer colorful version, with Tsveti taking her coat off.
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And here is Radost, or Joy, trying to make some leaves fall over her as we were attempting to create a more autumnal feel to the photos.
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After a long series of unsuccessful tries of one sister throwing leaves on the other one and our other friends trying to help, we came up with the perfect solution…
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…someone shaking the tree above and making the leaves fall over! That’s our friend Vlado who was so energetic that he needed to cover his head from the falling branches. It’s so nice to have such a devoted assistant.
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But the end product was worth it I think, the two sisters do look good with some falling leaves around them.
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Then it was time for some separate shots of each of the sisters…
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..with this one probably my preferred shot of Joy, with the overarching branch and the red leaves matching her scarf.
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And a last family shot before Joy left the stage entirely to her little sister.
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With Tsveti we then tried some more photos in the still-green part of the park..
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..before we came back to the same old communist monument, where Tsveti did some more fashion-style posing.
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One of the last shots on the back side of the monument before we all decided it was time for some coffee and warming up in a cafe outside the park.

Ladies’ fashion

Venue: A schoolyard in central Sofia

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4

Music: Madonna – Vogue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuJQSAiODqI)

It was high time for some photos with pretty girls, as lately I was more concentrated on conceptual photos or some special occasions as you see in my previous posts. So it was fortunate that shortly after the photomarathon I was approached by Radi, with whom we already had a few photoshoots before (https://kirilson.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/radi-cherry/ and https://kirilson.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/radi-2/) – she has a fashion site that also sells clothes and wanted to make some photos advertising them. So it was also a great opportunity for me to try out some fashion photos with Radi and her sister Dorina.

Radi had found a beautiful autumn place for the task – a schoolyard in central Sofia, with the school building (more or less) recently renovated and making a nice background for the photos, so I tried to keep the background also fairly sharp instead of my usual style of focusing sharply on the subject and blurring the rest by the shallow depth of field I normally use. I like experimenting and I think we made some nice photos for the purpose, but everyone has their own opinion so I’ll let everyone decide for themselves by showing you a selection of the photos we made.

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We started with both sisters (Radi on the left and Dorina on the right) in matching dresses..
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..and then went on making individual shots and changing outfits and places around the schoolyard.
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I was of course mostly in charge of the photos, while Radi was choosing the outfits and styling, while Dorina was the model for most of the time.
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But there were enough clothes also for several double shots.

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A rare occasion when Dorina was smiling. She was quite serious for most of the photos, which is probably a good thing when you want to accentuate on the clothes and not on the girl. So I was also happy with her posing style, it’s always interesting to try something different.

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Here it becomes obvious we’re in a schoolyard, with the football “field” on the background. These are the type of concrete-made football fields most kids in Bulgaria (me included) get to play on.

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A good example of the posing style of the two sisters: serious versus smiling.
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And again..
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..and again..
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..smiling..
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..and serious.
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This set of photos is probably my favorite from the photoshoot because of the stark contrast between the clothes and brick wall..
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..and I think the posing style of Dorina emphasizes the contrast even better!
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One of the last shots for the day with a more colorful background.

There are of course many more photos and many more clothes that we tried that day, but I think this selection provides a good representative example. In the end I also gave an interview for Radi’s website about my photography passion. The Bulgarian speakers can have a look at http://topmoda.bg/kiril-hristov-fizikut-fotograf/, where they can also browse through the available clothes for sale if interested.

Adi

Venue: “Borisova garden” park, Sofia

Lens: Nikkor 85 mm f/1.8

Music: Faithless – Reverence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyQ0s0J1fhY) – one of her favorite songs

After the end of the football games I finally had more time for photography, and even got a new portrait lens in anticipation of the sea holidays and coming beach photos. I was still in Sofia though, so we arranged a photoshoot with Adi in the park. She felt like her style would be some “dark” photos in black outfit and I had the idea of getting a candle and trying to combine the evening light in the park with the candlelight. So we aimed for a bit creepy feel in the narrow pathways in the forest on one end of the park, and i think the result is quite cool.

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Looking scary
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The black and white version probably decreases the scary feel
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Back to colored “dark” style

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For the coming photos I need to tell you a bit more about Adi and her multitasking personality. Apart from being a full time financial analyst and a mother of two children, she is doing a PhD in philosophy with Italian language. If that’s not enough, she is also a journalist and an author that writes short stories in her free time, and has a blog of her own (https://adispasova.wordpress.com) in Bulgarian. And last but not least, she’s also a yoga instructor. Which is why we decided to make some photos of her practicing yoga and trying various positions on one of the old communist monuments in the park.

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Getting mentally ready
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A sort of lotus position on hands, I suppose
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A “perfectly imperfect” place for yoga, as the shirt announces
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A short break
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Moving on the side of the monument to catch the last sun-rays for the day
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The swan
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Another hard stand that I don’t know the name of
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The bridge position
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Getting some rest

After the yoga we planned to do some more dark style photos in the gazebos nearby, but unfortunately they were all taken by people, and we wondered around the alleys making a few more photos. It was one of the hottest evenings of summer and so we were essentially forced to stop for a beer at some point, which was the end of the photoshoot as it got too dark afterwards.

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It was already dark and we could only rely on the candle and the street lights scattered around the park
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Under a lamp post

Asia

Venue: Abandoned hotel, Simeonovo, Sofia

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4

Music: Sombear – Love you in the dark (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSjCJdRFbpk) – a favorite song of hers

It was again time for some photos in my favorite abandoned hotel in Simeonovo, and this time the lead role was for Asia, who has quite a unique story herself. She is Polish and moved to live in Bulgaria several years ago. By now she already speaks perfect Bulgarian and is happy with her life in Sofia, but I can imagine that adapting to the local culture was never easy for her. I’m hoping that with her non-standard decision to move here she’s setting an example for more beautiful blonde girls from the North to move to our parts.

I brought Asia to the same place from my shoots with Lily (https://kirilson.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/lily-2/) and Ivelina (https://kirilson.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/ivelina/), but this time we ventured even further inside and explored the top floor of the hotel. The setting turned out to be as if taken from some horror movie stage, with molded rooms left in complete chaos and random artifacts from the past showing up here and there. So the long-legged semi-nude shape of Asia made quite a contrast with the background and helped for a set of very interesting photos I think.

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At the entrance of the second floor.
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In one of the better preserved rooms.

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As you can see from the photos Asia has quite some modeling experience already, even if she’s usually very busy doing many other things. So it took us some months before we finally managed to find a good time for both of us to meet. But once we did she immediately got into posing mood and appreciated the weirdness of the setting and its potential for nice photos.

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Welcome to the abandoned hotel.

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Fortunately no zombies came out during the shoot, but I wouldn’t want to spend the night here.
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Some black and white versions

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One of the properly molded rooms…
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..where the pieces of dried spices were the most well-preserved thing.

At some point we had seen enough demolition and decided to go out and breathe some fresh air, and made some photos in the lower parts of the hotel and its surroundings. Asia also changed her shirt, so the next set of photos had a completely different feel. We unfortunately couldn’t make too many photos outside as it was really hot and the sun was very strong, but we were already happy with our results until then. So we headed back downtown to enjoy the rest of the weekend in a less moldy atmosphere.

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The Coca-Cola sticker (in cyrilic, so probably from some time in the 90es) was the only thing fully intact on the first floor of the hotel. A proof that Coca-Cola is truly always around, even if everything else is crumbling down.
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Coming out

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Some fun tries to capture her hair in motion.