It's been a demanding month. I've been back in Toronto for 34 days after a fantastic trip to Europe, where I shot a number of scenes for 'The Orientalist'. I came back with about 7000 photos shot in Ukraine, Cyprus and Bulgaria, involving around 50 dancers and musicians in 30 different scenes. I never shot so much in so little time before, and selecting and editing the images proved to be a rewarding challenge. Even though the shots were very well planned in advance, having the images in front of you create different associations.
As I worked on the photos, I had a feeling of being at the same time in a marathon and labouring in a dungeon. Of course, coffee and shisha are not exactly the kind of luxury you'd see in either of those settings, but that's the beauty of mental images. Another trick I use while editing in long session in Photoshop, is listening to audiobooks. In this case, I was listening to "The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh", which talks about the discovery of the oldest work of literature in the world, and one of my favourites.
With ancient stories streaming through my ears, I kept a steady pace of editing this month, with a few short sessions of procrastination or other work. One of the things that made the process a bit slow was seeing new opportunities I haven't really considered before.
The main one I'm working right now is in incorporating 'oriental' patterns in the photographs. That process actually made me look at the whole catalog of images in a different way. This photo I took of musician Zdravko Peev, in Sofia, Bulgaria, is a good example.
Then I noticed it was because of the plain and simple background we had at the space. I loved all the elements in the photo, except for that. Then I experimented with adding some texture to it, and I suddenly started liking the image. I applied this technique to a few others and saw that it would work. Now I'm in the process of researching patterns and their meanings and considering ways of incorporating them to the photos.
As I've said before, I believe photos are objects to think with. What I like about this image with these changes is that it sort of represents many of the messages slowly showing themselves in 'The Orientalist', the mix of cultures and influences of distant lands, the ancient and the new, travel, mystery, and the game of combining influences into something unique.
Zravko is a member of Khan, a cool band in Sofia. Take a look at their music. Here is my favourite:
Next I'll talk about the process of creating the images during my European trip.