Photographer Dilian Markov: "Eroticism is in the eyes"
*Videography is part of the future of photography
Dilian Markov is one of the leading names in the field of photography and an emblematic author of covers and fashion photos for female, male and lifestyle magazines. He works for fashion designers and established brands in the field of women's, men's fashion and advertising photography. Winner of the Golden Needle Award of the Academy of Fashion in the category "Fashion photographer" for the years 2000 and 2018. In recent years Dilian Markov directs his professional interest in working on special projects where he can develop his creative potential.
How did you start doing photography?
Very classic - as a pupil I attended photography workshops. My father was an amateur photographer and lit me for the magic of this art. Then there were many clubs, circuses, but perhaps the most serious of my enthusiasm in photography I received when I received at Vitiz. There I began to study it more importantly and over the years this love and passion deepened. Little by little, I began to shoot and have a lifetime.
You have won a number of awards, including two Golden Needles of the Academy of Fashion in the category "Fashion photographer", and you yourself have been a jury of various competitions. What did the awards give you apart from recognition and prestige?
Of course, recognition and prestige are two very important things for every author. Whether you are young or well-established when people like your work and appreciate it, it means a lot to you. So, walking on your creative path, you realize that he is the right one and is something that is interesting and useful to you. Things you like are confident, respectful of colleagues, extra work, because it's also a recognition. But most of all, they are pleased with the fact that you are good at work.
Do you have favorite photographers to inspire and learn? Who are they and why?
Today one is your favorite one - tomorrow another. Today it is a modern one - tomorrow you see something much more interesting and different. Over the years, I have admired many photographers, but in general, the classics are those I've learned, I'm learning today. Annie Leibovitz is such an example, Richard Avedon, too, but I cannot say who I love. For the different types of photography, I like, there are different names that inspire me. I cannot say that I only like fashion or advertising only. I also like the photography of everyday life - I can mention that Magnum's photographers are incredible. I admire the skill that captures the moment, highlights it, sees it and shows it to us. National Geographic photographers are also great. I cannot help mentioning Helmut Newton - a brilliant author and innovator for his time, then Testino, Sorrento and the younger representatives.
You have worked with great names in fashion and business. Which is your favorite project so far?
Projects are like children - we love them all. Some are more challenging, for one reason or another, others are just a job. I remember two projects that have outlined in my portfolio over the years. One is a black-and-white session with naked bodies for advertising Spetema coffee from the 90s. Maybe I chose to talk about it because then there was a lot of freedom in the ads, a lot of possibilities for creativity and improvisation. When we worked on this project, I was a young photographer looking for and developing. We shot it for almost a week - we built a pool in the studio, made a lot of samples, and analyzed. The session itself was intertwined with naked female and male bodies coming out of the smoke of the coffee. Here is the theme of aesthetics in erotic photography - literally these are naked bodies, but on the other hand they recreate a beautiful dance. This project is my favorite because it is done with much desire, passion and enthusiasm. Another example is a photo shoot with Neli Atanasova in 2002-2003, which won the French magazine "Photo" cover. Then the stunning aesthetics was not yet popular in Bulgaria, and we staged that style. We had a great desire to get and we had a lot of fun while we got it. In this type of creative projects, in which I have the freedom to develop myself and to show my views, I put a lot of passion and passion. When a person has the freedom to create, he expresses himself in a way that he cannot do otherwise.
How did photography change over the last ten years, through your eyes?
With the development of technology, photography has changed radically. From a specialized profession it became accessible to anyone who has a smartphone in his hand and wants to show off. It has become very popular and popular. In my view, photography can be differentiated into a professional - in the field of people who make bread with it, and documentary photography - shows what, why and how it happened. I am talking about this mass photography, which everybody does with their phone all the time, and through the pictures tells us about their lives and the lives of the people around them. Whether it is good or bad I do not know, but these are the facts.
What is your personal understanding about photography, about its meaning?
I think it is obvious from the names of the photographers I quoted. I am a supporter of classic, pure and true photography. In it, the moment is the moment, the story you have captured or told is important - happiness or sadness in one person. The moment the photographer saw, caught and showed.
What are the current trends in photography and, in particular, fashion photography?
Social media are dictating fashion in photography, and that's normal. When millions of people view a type of photography, it becomes modern, sought-after and up-to-date. What has been the style of last years is this type, if I can call it a "Instagram" vision. The photos that we do even in our professional work are like stolen moments, hurriedly shot, slightly careless. All of this apparent frivolity and lightness that is observed in photography is trendy recently, as well as tons that resemble "Instagram" filters. This is the current one. I have no idea how long it will last, but in general that looks like photography today - casual!
What is the future of photography according to you?
Photography will never be the same as it was when we started working, but there is nothing terrible about it. The world is changing, technologies are developing, and photography is a technological art. The way, the ease with which images are made, is constantly changing, but it will surely remain a very classic trend. Film photography returns very successfully - it is closer to art, because it is much harder and requires more thought. On the other hand, is this instant photography, these images and the videos that we register with our phones. People are already looking for more video content because much more information is transmitted than pure photo content, so they may be in some kind of introspection. In this case, three main types of photography will be distinguished: mass documenting, professional (for commercial purposes) and art photography.
You are also interested in erotic photography - what is specific about it and how is the perfect frame achieved?
For me, erotic photography is no different from people photography. In the end, the basis is man and what I seek is that eroticism is largely emancipated by himself. I have worked for almost all the men's magazines that have gone out over the years, and - always has a beautiful young body, but the point is to predispose the woman so that he feels attractive and not worried about her nakedness. Then all the eroticism is in her sight and what he radiates with it. It is common to take photographs that do not include naked bodies and are quite catching with light or styling, but when you predispose the person, eroticism is emanating from his eyes. It is much stronger and more active than a naked body.
Video business cards are your new project - tell us more about them?
This is related to the evolution of the photography I was talking about - I find new challenges and new fields for expression. One of the things I started to do and I am pleased because there is a need for it, these are video business cards. If some time ago people used pictures to convey content or a message, the last few years have become very up-to-date and modern - perhaps I have somewhat imposed this in Bulgaria - to make video presentations. The photos and the text remain - they are also an important part, but when people see you live, it is much more influential for them. The results are better and the content reaches much more people. This is a project I've been developing for the past few years, and I think it's part of the future of photography or video that's going on every day.
You teach Photography courses at New Bulgarian University. What do you advise young photographers?
Yes, I have two courses in photography at NBU. My main goal, as well as the other teachers, is to build a love for photography. What I can give as advice not only to students but also to all young people who are involved in photography. You have to shoot every day constantly, because only that way you will improve. Show your photos, but look for adequate and true ways to display. Social media is not where your photos will be truly appreciated. Participate in competitions, even international, where no one knows you and where your work will be appreciated impartially. But the main thing is to work a lot and continually - then the results will come.
If you can go back in time, is there something you would change in your work?
This is rather a human matter, not a professional one. I cannot go back in time, so there is no point in thinking about it. I do not know if the things I've done in the past were the best for me and the rest of the people or not, but that's my choices, my decisions. They've brought me here and done what I'm doing right now. I would not change anything.
What are you working on right now?
The video business cards I mentioned - a great creative challenge but also a pleasure. I try to combine photography and video. That's what I'm doing more seriously at the moment. I am happy that I already have clients who have tested the results of these projects and are happy with them.
The interview was taken by Ivana Stoyanova.
1. Dilian Markov with the award "Golden Needle 2018".
Photo: © Hilife / Needle to Thread
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