Street Photography Sofia

Street Photography in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Street photography is a passion of mine, as a young whipper snapper the work of the imperial Henri Cartier Bresson’s Paris was as mesmerizing as it was inspiring, William Klein’s grainy edgy New York and the now so familiar images of Istanbul made by Ara Guller, actually it’s a long list but am not getting into a roll call of photographic superstars, occasionally I can’t help thinking that somehow 1950’s New York or Paris of the ’30’s gives any photographer an edge, Istanbul still has some incredible locations but the modern world with its mass of visual pollution in the guise of capitalistic advertising giving the impression of an explosion in a paint factory means that while Ara still sits drinking his coffee in his Istanbul cafe his city has largely disappeared.

My first real attempt at producing a body of work defined as street photography was in Cairo, ( Cairo Time & Tramlines  ) in a teeming city of gazillion people it offered almost overwhelming options, I had to make some rules and limited my project to a set radius of the old Fatimid walls, for a boy who had spent more time in the meadows of the Thames than the city the excitement and exotic was a heady creative cocktail. Much later Istanbul (Istanbul Street Photography ) provided the never-ending urban landscape populated with twenty million potential subjects, some may say it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, perhaps not quite but these cities do provide an engaging backdrop in which to set the characters of endless opportunity and drama limited only by the soles wearing from your shoes.

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Moving to Sofia in Bulgaria at the start of the year was an exciting new opportunity to discover a new country, a new city, using street photography as a tool to explore, discover and learn, you pay more attention, you take things slower, you pick out the details, I can’t stress the non-photographic benefits enough.

Now I need to choose my words carefully here; for those that know Sofia and those from Sofia we can agree it’s not a screaming mega city, it has the population of a neighborhood of Istanbul, its gentle, its calm, its green, its empty. For a street photographer it’s a challenge.

The challenge this time was to create a body of work that is not simply a street shot image but one that conveys a sense location, with each location a unique history and culture, I do get a little bored of random images that say very little, technology now allows us to snap with stealth but still it’s no excuse for meaningless images, and since you have asked, I have no preference when it comes to technology but a DSLR is my workhorse and despite its clumsy and noisy attributes serves me well enough.

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So here we are then a selection of street shot images of Sofia, a city of undeniable charm, hopefully they will appeal to the more critical Bulgarians amongst us too.

Anyone interested in a personal Street Photography Workshop in Sofia, Cairo or Istanbul drop me an email, I am also preparing on-line mentoring classes for those interested.

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Connect on my personal FACEBOOK page for recent shenanigans

And do please drop by my  Website

And needless to say anyone wanting to buy a print just send me an email-it helps with the rent.

52 thoughts on “Street Photography Sofia

  1. I’ll take it as an inspiration, the pictures are most interesting. Usually my shyness hinders me to just snap around in the street; last week I gave it a try on a very special trip but only with my mobile camera and I am just working on putting the best of those pictures on my blogs.

    1. Thank you Susanne
      Yes I think most people have issues shooting images of strangers on the street. There are some techniques that can make it easier but its still a question of what kind of image you hope to make.
      Did you see my Amman post? Its flying around somewhere.

  2. rajarhymes

    I like your use of light and dark in your B&W pics. Number 3 is so cool, using the lit up sign- I think that is what that is- and the last pic, even the people are shadow. The perspective is unique. That is what I love the most about B&W, you can play with the way we see reality 🙂

    1. Thank you so much
      Black and white does open up so many opportunities-
      The lights you mention are from a shop window, in Sofia there are these Squat Shops-very unusual hangover from Soviet times.

  3. Great shots. After years of only using my phone for snaps, even whilst travelling, I finally bought a light Olympus, and so loving it even though I have a way to go in truly mastering its magic. Thanks for the post, holler if your back in Istanbul:)
    Enjoy.

  4. Lovely photography. My ‘project’ is to limit myself to what can be done with an iPhone. There are limits, but it’s amazing what happens when you’ve always got a camera with you.The ‘tech’ in such mobiles is amazing…

      1. Thank you, John. Just been reading that interviews about your work in Syria. A very admirable ‘project’, though I suspect it was much deeper than that.

  5. “you pay more attention, you take things slower, you pick out the details,” YES!!! Shades of Georgia O’Keeffe, taking time to really see a flower… I find that I often see something in a photo I’ve taken that I didn’t catch at the time. Of course, sometimes the photo doesn’t capture what I’d hoped, either. Thank you for your view of the world.

  6. Bresson had quite the talent for the grab shot and a stellar eye. Recently I became aware of Garry Winogard (sp?). Your photo of the young people “posing” and the fellow on the bike reminded me of Winogard’s work.

  7. Love your photography! We do a lot of nature photography and lifestyle, but not much street photography. Definitely something special about capturing the people living in the places we visit.

  8. Hi John, love the photo’s if you ever find yourself at the coast look me up in Sozopol. I have a basic Nikon D50 and would love to know how to use it !!! May have to be a skill swap tho am skint but can teach you watercolour painting in return ok.

    1. Thank you 🙂
      I just moved back to Istanbul from a brief stay in Bulgaria-am coming back often though and love Sozopol. Maybe you noticed some seascape images on my FB page I shot there last bloody cold winter. Anyway would be great to catch up and am happy to help out with the D50

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