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Exclusive Interview with Svetlin Yosifov

Posted on January 19, 2020 - By Sandrine Hermand-Grisel
Exclusive Interview with Svetlin Yosifov
Exclusive Interview with Svetlin Yosifov
Svetlin Yosifov is a freelance photographer based in Bulgaria. He won the 1st place for the AAP Magazine #9 Shadows with his work Mursi People. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.

All About Photo: Tell us about your first introduction to photography. What drew you into this world?

Svetlin Yosifov: I was born in Bulgaria, and I had the privilege of living in this beautiful country all my life. I think that the place where I grew up had the biggest impact on my life. The sunrises and sunsets over the Black sea are amazing, especially of you are at the right time, on the right spot, next to the silent shore, or the furious waves... IRREPLACEABLE. Throughout the years, I've worked in the sports club, I have had the opportunity to photograph athletes in ski, motocross and windsurfing disciplines. Slowly, step by step, I shortened the distance to the object, changed lenses, as I came closer to their faces, suddenly I filled in the emptiness I always felt when photographing landscapes and other genres. This is how my passion for portraits arose and I started seeking my sunsets and sunrises in the eyes and faces of people.

Do you remember your first shot? What was it?

My first photo was black and white and is still handing on my wall in Bourgas. I made it with an underwater film camera POLAROID in 2004, while I was at Marble Sea. I named it The Bird Fishermen.

Svetlin Yosifov

Woman from Mursi Tribe © Svetlin Yosifov

Svetlin Yosifov

Woman from Mursi Tribe © Svetlin Yosifov

How do you prepare for your trips?

This is the hardest part of getting ready for a trip. There are so many interesting places, I would love to visit places filled with people that we could never see anywhere else in the world. Places that hold a long history, people that hang on to rituals and traditions, that we've seen only on television. I can give an example... In 2018, when I decided to visit Ethiopia, my research began 3-4 months before my departure. I looked at tons of photos of photographers who went there and tried to build an idea of what it is going to be like.
A month and a half later, my third photo album ETHIOPIAN TRIBES EXPEDITION 2018 was released.

You have traveled in many countries, is there one that marked you more than others?

Each country I have travelled to has left memories in my mind forever. India left a mark with it's colors and contrasts, Cuba with the old cars and street musicians, Vietnam with the SAPA people, Laos and Canbodia with the muncs and, of course, Ethiopia with the amazing tribes MursiSuri and Karo.

Svetlin Yosifov

Boy from Mursi Tribe © Svetlin Yosifov

What was your biggest challenge so far? What is your worst souvenir? Best souvenir?

A big challenge for me was my last trip to India. It lasted two months. In the middle of it, I got food poisoned, but I continued my journey. I came back 14 kilograms below my original weight. After this I published one of ny beat albums 'TEN RUPEES FOR INDIA` This was the best memory I have ever created.

Do you travel alone?

I always travel alone. The most rewarding part is coming back at the airport's terminal and being grateful for returning safe and sound. I love observing the atmosphere of the unknown places that I visit. It's hard only when you see something beautiful and wan5 to share it with someone else, but this I do with my photos :) and reach millions...

Svetlin Yosifov

Warrior from Mursi Tribe © Svetlin Yosifov

You said that you were able to live among the Mursi People, how where you able to do so?

Whatever stories you might have heard about the “Mursi” tribe, they are always welcoming and ready for a nice conversation. They are happy to make a camp for you right next to their homes. Every night, during my seven day stay there the lit up a fire for me, I was asked to join them, sit with them and talk with them with the help of my guide as a translator. In the light of the fire a man starts singing, seconds after that many others join him. This reminded me of a slavery song with lots of pain and sorrow in it. Bonding with the tribe is very important for my shoots.

Svetlin Yosifov

NO from Mursi Tribe © Svetlin Yosifov

What makes the difference between a good image and an iconic image?

I dream of makind at least one iconic image. It will say it all, it will make us think until we shiver each time we look at it. We would ofthen find sadness and suffering in the world... I admire Merry Ellen Mark!

You work both in Black and White and in Color what determines your choice?

Тhis I never found challenging. I love a well shown contrast and this would be essential, no matter the color.

What equipment do you use?

My favourite cameras are Canon EOS 6D Mark II and Leica DIGILUX 3. They are always on the road with me, kept safe in my photographer's backpack with the highest protection, possible. I use the standard Canon 24-70 mm lens, which is perfect for street portraits, as well as Canon EF 70-200mm, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM for portraits.

Svetlin Yosifov

African Girl © Svetlin Yosifov

Do you spend a lot of time editing your work?

I am extremely demanding towards my photos. I often analyse and work on a shot for weeks, before I publish it.

What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

If they are serious about photography, my advise is to go to college and learn the basics. I couldn't do this myself and catching up took me a lot of time. Nowadays the easiest thing is to by a good camera, but this doesn't make you a good photograher.You have to get outside of your comfort zone, sometimes riak your health in the name of photography. This goes for everything in life, that we are devoted to. And results will always come to us, rewarding...

Svetlin Yosifov

Karo Family © Svetlin Yosifov

What mistake should a young photographer avoid?

The most important thing for a young photographer is to create their own style. This comea with many years and experience. Don't try to copy someone successful. Not only does this never work, but it draws you away from finding yourself. I wish everyone the best of luck, because thw road is pretty long.

Your best memory as a photographer?

This was in 2019 when I won one of Xposure International Photography Competition 2019 Sharjah UAE's awards. These were five amazing days for me at the photography festival, where my photos were shown, next to photos of the most amazing photographera in the world.This I will never forget.

Svetlin Yosifov

The Life of the Mother © Svetlin Yosifov

Favorite(s) photographer(s)?

Hard one. If I say names, I will miss many, for sure. From. The modern ones, I admire at least a douzen and follow their work passionately.

What are your upcoming projects/trips?

The places I would like to visit are so many. Lots of cultures, that are disappearing. I won't have the time in this life. In 2020 I will probably try to visit South Sudan or Papua New Guinea.

Svetlin Yosifov

Warrior Mursi © Svetlin Yosifov

An anecdote you would like to share?

The are no rules to making good photos.Twelve for one year-that's a pretty good result! -Ansel Adams

What 3 words describe your photography style?

Let me call my style Documentary - ART Portrait Photography

Svetlin Yosifov

My toy © Svetlin Yosifov

Svetlin Yosifov

Women killer warriors © Svetlin Yosifov

Svetlin Yosifov

Mursi face © Svetlin Yosifov

Svetlin Yosifov

Mago Mago © Svetlin Yosifov

Svetlin Yosifov

Mursi Home © Svetlin Yosifov

Svetlin Yosifov

Mursi Warrior © Svetlin Yosifov

Svetlin Yosifov

Boy from Mursi tribe © Svetlin Yosifov

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