I met Yana a couple of years ago during a photography class that took place in the coworking space I was managing in Varna, Bulgaria. She was one of the lecturers. It was a wonderful experience just to be there and listen to her and the others speaking about their passion. Yana was leading the part of the course dedicated to wedding photography. She is probably the best in this aspect in Bulgaria (and beyond) in my opinion. We had the chance to do a small project together – photo interviews of local businesses in Varna. She truly is one of the most interesting and inspiring people I know. And now you get to meet her as well.
Introduce yourself in a few sentences
My name is Yana and I like to take photos. I live far from the crowd, in a small village between the forest and the field, between the sea and the mountain, where the mornings are sunrises. My daily life is full of many people, whom I always meet in the best moments of their lives, but it is noisy and colorful, and in order to collect myself afterward, I need the silence and the air with the smell of herbs at home. We are here together with my 12-year-old son, who is my greatest joy and also my greatest challenge. He is the sunniest, smiling, and most curious child and my best helper when he comes to work with me.
Your love for photography has been going on for years. How did it all start and how did it all develop?
I was drawn to the magic of preserving the present, capturing the moment which disappears in an instant and never comes again. To be able to stop time and put it in your pocket. To show what would not be seen without you, because it is the world through your eyes. When Nikola (her son) was a baby, I started photographing him, then I started photographing families, and I was also asked to do photoshoots for events. And so to this day.
What draws you, particularly to wedding photography and why do you prefer it?
Weddings are one of the happiest moments in people’s lives. The day they celebrate love; the day they are together with all their loved ones. I like photographing people, observing them, seeing the small gestures, the micro-mimics that express emotion, and capturing them like butterflies in a field or fireflies in the dark. As a game, to see the emotion and stop it in time, then “put it in the pocket”. To be invisible, to move quietly among people, and take the perfect shot. I am interested in exploring their world because when you observe all day, you see a lot. And I’m curious. It is like I have a story from a book running through my head all the time. Besides weddings, I also like to photograph families with children, preferably lots of children, because there’s a lot of love there too. Or stories of people who are doing something meaningful.
What is next as a future development of your dream?
I’ve been wanting to focus on more personal projects for a long time now, but I believe that time will come.
There are certainly difficult moments in your work and life. What motivates you to tackle them?
I believe that there will come a next moment that will be more beautiful than the previous one.
What would you share with people who are hesitant to follow their dreams?
Life is frighteningly short, and it’s no good letting it pass us by like a freight train.