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Desislava Ignatova: People's Emotional Charge Fascinates Me

by Despird Zhang 
Published the 7th of June 2021


Bulgarian artist Desislava Ignatova  is a fine art photographer who specializes in moody portraiture with a strongly recognizable characteristic. I have always been emotionally connected with the subjects in her works. I see sadness, joy through their eyes.  At other times, it was a mixed feeling, combining unspeakable subtlety with mysterious excitement.  Learn more about her through this fine interview!


Please tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs?
Professionally, I am an engineer, but over the years I have done graphic design and advertising. The skills I have gained in that field now help me with photo editing and the overall tone that I want to achieve.


How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
The good and the bad moments, which we experience in our everyday life, inevitably affect our mood and therefore our art. For that reason, the emotions my photos convey are sometimes more dramatic or more relaxed.



What first attracted you to photography?
Probably my love for art. I have always wanted to be good at drawing, but sadly I cannot say I am that good at it. So, I found out that through photography I can do what I want to do on a canvas. I am a big fan of cubism and Picasso, so I am often making my photographs like paintings.



I got into photography by accident. After the birth of my second child, I took a camera and started taking pictures of my kids. Soon after that I realized how much I enjoyed doing it!



You have your very own style but your work is very diversified. Can you explain why this is?
Usually, I prefer the more dramatic style of editing – mainly black and white images.
I like art photography, which is why many of my photos are unrealistic. I want them to look more like paintings.



I truly admire beautiful landscape photos, but I am personally more drawn towards people and the emotion they carry. Their facial expressions change all the time, and it is important for me to catch something typical of them, to show their feelings and the things that excite them in that precise moment.
I enjoy different things. I don’t think I have a “niche”. My photos express what I am feeling at that moment.

What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
A technically well-edited photo always makes a good impression, but the only thing that will make me look at a photo again and again is the emotional charge. I need something that can make me experience the moment, together with the person in the photo, even if the technical rules are not followed.



Do you carefully prepare the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Very often, I take pictures of people I know and who are close to me. I think the more personal approach is easy to notice.


'Substitute mother'


On the other hand, if I find someone interesting and decide to take a picture of them, and I am most likely going to have a conversation with them afterwards.


'the gift'

Sometimes, I have a specific idea that I try to achieve, in which case I always try to find the best setting and model. Most of the time, however, I do not have a specific idea and just take photos where I am.



What gear do you use?
Currently, I am using a Nikon D700 and I have different lenses for it. In the near future, I hope to get a full frame camera.

What software do you use to process your images?
Can you tell us something more about your workflow?
I use Adobe Photoshop for editing. I do not think I have a specific workflow. Through the editing I give the expression I want. I approach each photo differently. I use filters by Alien skin. I rarely use textures, but I often mix two or more photos.



What is your most important advice to a beginner in Photography and how do you get started?
It is difficult to give advice. Each person should find their own way.  It is normal to make mistakes, or to change from one style to another, but the more you practice, the more you will succeed. The most important thing for me is to try not to copy each other, no matter how much we like someone’s work. It is normal to be affected by other people, but it should not overshadow our own personal perspective.

Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?

I follow many websites and I admire the old-school photographers. I cannot pick a specific name, but the black and white photography is definitely my favourite. I am still developing and trying to find myself, so I do not have any specific directions yet.
Photography is a hobby for me, so I have not thought about realizing a specific project yet. I deeply hope to continue doing this.

Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?

The photo to which I am deeply and emotionally connected is one of the last photos I took of my mother, while she was battling cancer. This photo also gave me the first place in a competition in my country, which proved to me that I had really managed to express my love for her.



Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
As any artist, the way people see my photos is important for me. 1X is a place where a lot of great photographers are showing their work.  Even from my first steps, I was influenced by the variety of styles and ideas. Personally, I believe this is one of the best (if not the best) photography websites. It has been a favourite place of mine, long before I even started uploading my own work. I have learned a lot and I am continuing to do so.














Great work and insight, like the moods you create.
Fantastic work
Beautiful photography and thank you for sharing your thought on your work Congratulations and look forward to seeing more of your work.
Thank you so much!
Congratulations with this well deserved attention for your work.
Thank you so much!
Great photos and interview. Congratulations.
Thank you so much!
Thank you so much!
Strong and outstanding work, Desislava! Thank you so much for revealing more about yourself and your work, dear friend. I'm a bigger fan then ever now that I know you a little better. Thanks to Des for leading this excellent interview too. Cheers, Yvette
Thank you so much Yvette. The pleasure is all mine. I am feeling extremely happy and pleased to hear that people are enjoying my work.