Veselin Atanasov succeeds in a wonderful way to take us with him in his imaginary world of his dreams, emphasizing the beauty of reality by adding a surrealistic impact to his images. He loves black-and-white photography for its dramatic potential. Despite of the high quality level he reached already, Veselin is unpretentious and modest. He constantly strives to improve his skills.
Let's put him in the spotlights today to discover more about the man beyond his work.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, Veselin.
I am working as an IT specialist at home in the small Bulgarian town of Kazanlak, which is my native town. I have had many hobbies, but the only hobby I still practise is travelling, which is now combined with my new hobby, photography. The specifics of my work allow me to have a lot of free time to practice my hobbies. On 19 February 2016 I became the father of a wonderful boy. I want to enjoy this huge happiness to the fullest, so I temporarily suspended my plans for the most distant travels, but not photography, which I mainly practice in my native country and during my short trips to Europe, in order to stay close to my family.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Even as a schoolboy I was attracted to art. I often drew paintings in my notebooks during the classes, which fortunately did not affect negatively my end results, but increased my love for drawing and later I started with oil paints on canvas. This did not last long, because I had to study and work to take care of my future, but now I have rediscovered my inspiration, this time with the means of expression of the photography.
I started with photography in the summer of 2014 after a period of many exciting and exotic travels in Asia ans South America.
I encountered a great variety of splendid views, which inspired me to take up photography as a wonderful means of expression and a tool for conveying this impact. In the autumn of 2014 I started self-training in photography, which goes on till now.
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
It was in the autumn of 2015 when one day I was invited by a friend to go with him to the woods of the Bulgarian Balkan mountain to take photos. It is a 15-minute drive from my home and on that day the mountain was covered in a thick fog. To my surprise I was captured by the enchanting and mystic views, which I had not seen before even during my most exotic trips. And that was only 15 minutes away from home!
From that moment on my landscapes started appearing the way I was imagining them in my dreams and not the way they really looked during the shots.
What first attracted you to photography?
I was first attracted by the opportunity to visualize my dreams through contemporary digital methods.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
For me photography is a wonderful experience complementing my travels and also a great occasion for travels. Both hobbies are so inter-weaved that I wonder whether I take photos in order to travel or vice versa – I travel to take photos, but I know for sure that I want this to continue in the future.
Why are you so drawn by B&W Landscape Photography?
In my opinion the black-and-white pictures make nature reveal its dramatic potential. Black-and-white landscapes have an additional surrealistic impact, a capturing effect on me.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
The most important to me is the mood or the story behind and within the frame. The technological excellence is a bonus, of which I forget once I see the power of nature in front of me.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
I love being carried away by dreams when I face the scenery of the places I visit. I love to take photos and maybe that is the reason why I have fewer frames compared to all other friends-photographers that join me.
Once, when I crossed the path of a stag in the Balkan’s woods and he ignorantly changed his direction to move away from me, I felt envy for a while and wanted to be in his place, in full harmony with the surrounding nature.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I almost never make detailed plan. I leave that to the people I travel with. I may only plan for the general location, such as the country, but I always get informed about the specific places we go to while on the road. I am happy when I am on the move whatever the direction.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
Sony A7R II, Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8, Sony FE Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm F1.8 ZA and Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS
What software do you use to process your images?
Photoshop and some external plug-ins for it.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I usually start fancying how I will recreate the place into a dream of mine while taking the photos, but I must confess that my technical skills in the post-process lag behind my fantasies and there are a lot of frames that are waiting for me to achieve the necessary technical level, so that I can visualize them as they appear in my imagination. In the post-process I mostly use layers with a camera raw filter. I love the Nik collection.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in B&W Landscape Photography and how do you get started?
My advice to a beginner is to thoroughly process a colourful frame before starting its black and white processing, because in my opinion the aesthetic effect of a black-and-white photo starts where the impact of the colour photo has reached its limit.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I will not specify a favourite author or list names, because they are many and none of them deserves to be left out. They all have very strong impact on me and I wish that my photos have the same impact, but via my style. My pursuit of a strong impact and my endeavour to achieve this while trying not to repeat their visualizations deeply affect my photography.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
There are many such photos, but I will share with you one of the many that have deeply impressed me with the effect they have on me. When I saw it, I felt deep fear that this photo is one of the last possible ways to see something so magical that even if I make a sound, I may destroy it, not to mention the global activity of the mankind. I felt an obsessive desire to be there. Thank you, Sveduneac Dorin Lucian !
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?
I have not thought about my future as a photographer yet. I strive to improve my technical skills in the post-process as I still do not have the necessary skills to visualize all of my fantasies. I want to improve these skills to an extent allowing me to create the desired vision in a quick and easy manner.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
With this photo I reasserted something like my style with which I started presenting my favourite woods from the Bulgarian Balkan. Every time I look at this photo, its impact on me is the same as the effect of nature while.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I spend more time on 1Х than in all other photography sites together. I didn't find another photography site which makes me experience the same pleasure than here when I look through its content.
I wish all the best to the entire 1X team and to all authors, who share their works and rejoice us with their creativity and imagination.
My Best Regards!