She is as vast as her photographs. Smart, fun, open to the world and people…
Albena Nikolova is a photographer and teacher, a restless spirit and an artist in the fullest sense of the word. She was born in Veliko Turnovo, where she graduated from Painting, and during her studies she had the opportunity to specialize in "Artistic Leather Processing" in Lithuania.
During 2007 he worked for the Bulgarian Philately, drawing illustrations for the anniversary envelope and printing on the occasion of the anniversary of the founding of the Varna Aquarium.
In 2013 he graduated with a Master's Degree in Design, Visual Communication and Multimedia from the University of Sapienza in Rome. In her thesis she designs the visual identity of Bulgarian cultural institutes abroad.
She travels a lot, but as she shares herself, "I have no difficulty living and working in an international environment!"
He has participated in numerous collective exhibitions in Italy, as well as several solo shows in Slovenia and Rome. Her works have been published in art catalogs in Poland and Italy.
In 2010, he received the Audience Award for Best Illustration on the theme of Trasimeno Blues Cartoon Festival Blues - Italy.
Currently he works mainly in the field of photography - digital and analog, and graphic design. He is a member of the Laborintus Experimental Graphic and Photography Studio, where he studies antique photographic printing techniques, in particular cyanotype.
In 2016, the prestigious VOGUE magazine, Italy, published her photographs.
I know you rarely stay in one place for a long time. Where are we now?
Contrary to my expectations, I have been living in Rome for 7 years. With the exception of the 6 month in the 2014, when I moved to Slovenia, I quickly returned to the Eternal City.
When and how did you realize that photography is your calling?
At 100% I have been convinced of this for the last 2 years. I've always dealt with many things at the same time. I started digital photography as a hobby through 2008, but it took me to photo collages and manipulations that belong more to graphic design. One of my earliest childhood memories is that I attend prints in a dark room, with the red light and everything else! I always knew that one day I would do just that!
Who are your teachers? What / who inspires you?
Wim Wenders (director), Victor Paskov (writer), Kurt Vonnegut (writer), Dave McCain (graphic designer), Giulio Monteverde (sculptor). These are the names that have had the most impact on me - the A Series names as we call them at home. I am inspired by people who manage to tell the truth through fairy tales.
Modern technology has turned each of us into a "photographer". Social networks are full of photos - in the bar, in the subway, on the street, with friends and, of course, the inevitable selfies… Where is the place for this type of "photography"?
There is a nice expression in Italian for "stanno bene là" - literally, "you're fine there." I am firmly in favor of the development of new technologies - in my opinion they act as a filter. Whoever he is as a "photographer" on Instagram is free to stay there. Literate photographers enter the dark room (camera obscura), after all.
And what distinguishes a really good photo? And when does a photo become art?
The good picture tells! The mediocre photo reflects. When the light is correct, the exposure is accurate, the colors are balanced and the posture is flawless. You always need a little magic. You remember how you took the picture, but you don't remember exactly how it turned out.
What are your favorite subjects for photography?
Over the years, my focus has been on different objects. I hope that means I evolve as a photographer. At the moment I am shooting mostly architecture in a minimalist, almost abstract style.
Of all your photos, what's your favorite? What's her story?
I called it "Elì, Elì, lemà sabactàni" (Aramaic - "God, God, why forsake me?"). It is a photo collage of 3 photos I took along the Lithuanian coast of the White Sea. I wanted to gather the whole vastness of this place and put it in complete isolation. I felt there at the end of the world, but in a positive way. I was surrounded by only essential things, the void was meaningful.
You've lived in quite a few places. Which city is forever in your heart?
Kaunas, Lithuania. I know I can't live there permanently, but when I can go back.
Where do you like to go back?
Bulgaria or Italy?
You do a lot of things. Do you have free time and how do you rest from your daily routine?
Photography is not a profession but a way of life. When I'm not in the office or the studio, I look to be on the move and shoot. I strive to spend as much time as possible near the sea, even in winter.
What do you dream about (professionally and personally)?
I set myself achievable goals. I would like a Plaubel Makina (camera) and visit the cities of Wim Wenders' films. I would start with Palermo.
Your life philosophy?
Life is one, it's short and the money never goes! So whoever tries to do things that he doesn't really want to do, don't try! Do what is in your soul!