Find us on Facebook
Интервюто на български език можете да намерите тук.
I am not exaggerating by telling you that today we are presenting you a unique lady, whom the world welcomes with open arms from all points of view. There are no limits for Tina’s dreams because she is able to find what she values in life anywhere.
Tina has been living in the US for the last 20 years. One of her biggest passions is to travel the world. We are grateful that she is able to capture the places she visits in a unique and inspiring way. In this article you can read about her travels, adventures and upcoming photo exhibit in Sofia called “Voyages”.
Where does your passion for photography come from?
Tina: My grandfather was an amazing and talented man. Photography was one of his hobbies. He used to have a bunch of old Russian cameras which used to take 15 mins of adjustments before they could take a single shot. He used the bathroom as his dark room and developed his films there. He gave me my first camera when I was 5 and always repeated to me “Be happy!” Ever since then I loved taking pictures of everything and was able to find interesting subjects even in the most banal scenes.
For the last several years photography and my travels were the two things that served as a way to escape from the New York work grind. I lived for my vacations and spent all my money on trips where I would shoot the amazing world beyond the office walls and the computer screens.
What inspires you to create?
Tina: The beauty around us and being able to share it with my friends, family and acquaintances. If I succeed to inspire someone, then I really feel I have achieved something.
You have travelled all over. Tell us about some of the destinations you picked and why you chose them.
Tina: Ever since I was a little girl, travelling was kind of an obsession. Not sure where this calling comes from, but wherever I see a travel magazine, blog or article, I am all over them. When I first arrived in America, I wanted to explore Asia and Latin America, because at the time I thought I could always go to Europe. Back then I didn’t have a professional camera so there are a lot of things I didn’t capture. I went to Mexico, Bermuda, Haiti, the Caribbean, Guatemala, India, Belize, Cuba, Morocco, Peru, Canada, Kuwait, the east and west coasts of the US, and a cross-country trip. Those were easy destinations because I either had friends or could visit through school programs.
Probably the most unusual trip I did when I was younger was going to Japan during SARS. At the time I was living in San Francisco, and tickets to Narita, were only $400 round-trip. There were 3 of us on the plane from the US to Japan, the other two passengers were doctors. I guess it was a little risky of me, but I really enjoyed experiencing true Japanese culture because I stayed with friends of mine in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto and at the end I didn’t get sick.
Another impressive trip was to Machu Picchu (Peru), which was a dream come true after reading about the incas for years. In Bulgaria we studied about lake Titikaka when I was in 3rd grade, and since then I always wanted to see it. It was close by to Cuzco, but I got salmonella and couldn’t continue the trip.
The last few years I dedicated to destinations which tend to be more spiritual and along the lines of self-discovery. I went to Siam Reap in Cambodia, then crossed the country and took a boat into Vietnam. Then I spent a few weeks in various yoga centers in Bali. South Africa was an unforgettable experience as well. I fell in love with the nature and mixture of cultures there and for an extra thrill I got into a cage and “swam” with 5 meter great white sharks. You couldn’t see anything really because the water was muddy from the seal blood which was used to attract the sharks, and also the oil of the boat. But when we came out and I saw from up high how ugly and big those beasts were, I really wondered if I am not missing something in my head.
I worked in London for a year in 2008 and reconnected with Europe travelling all over. Since then I come back whenever I can. I can’t get enough of the Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, Spain, the islands). I love Italy, I spent a few weeks studying art history in Florence and travelled all over. Places like Toscany, Sardinia, Sicily, Amalfi coast, Liguria and the Adriatic coast are endless sources of beauty and inspiration for me. They even remind me of Bulgaria at times.
What fascinates you the most during your travels?
Tina: Many people think it is very expensive to travel and when they hear all the places I have been to, they decide I must have a lot of money. In reality, I don’t and you don’t need to spend loads of money to get an authentic experience. You just need to research and understand what a certain destination can offer you and then go for it. Having an authentic experience is what matters to me most.
Last year I came to Bulgaria from New York for the weekend because it was important for me to make jam with my grandma at the mountain house in the middle of nowhere in the Balkan mountains. I spent an amazing 15 August celebration in Amorgos (Greece) where I saw the whole village eating, drinking and going to church throughout the night, while the old men were drinking raki and talking politics at 3 am. In Florence, I spent an unbelievable morning watching artisans at work making metal pieces for jewelry, picture frames, key chains etc. which eventually would end up in the windows of Saks, Bergdorf and Neiman Marcus. Listening to their story of working together for 50+ years was an experience no one can buy. Travelling for me is not just going places and taking a bunch of shots. The real meaning is diving into the culture and connecting with the people, who always have so much to share.
Your photos tells stories. Are there any you like more than others?
Tina: I am very happy to hear that you see stories in my shots, because for me they are exactly that – stories of the people I meet and places I visit. There is a particular memory I associate with each one of my pictures. Maybe some of my favorites are the Old man in Jaipur, the nuns in Capri and the three Peruvian ladies in Cuzco. I shot the old man from an elephant’s back and to this day I can’t tell if he was cursing me, blessing me or asking for money. The two nuns for me are a metaphor of how vast, yet peaceful life can be. The three Peruvian ladies are actually a grandma, mother and daughter from a tribe that lives in the mountains. I associate them with relationships between various generations and the antiquity in modern life.
You have an upcoming exhibit of your photos in Bulgaria. Where and when will it be?
Tina: I am so happy for this opportunity and deeply grateful to all the people who helped me realize it. “Fabrika Duga” 10 Veslets Street, Sofia, let me have their wall for the month of July. I will have 10+ photos there after 2 July. Starting the 15th of July through September, there will be a more extensive exhibit of pictures at Apartamenta, 68 Neofit Rilski, Sofia. I will be very happy to see you all there. Hope you like the pictures and get inspired to travel!