I was recently contacted by the marvelous people from Colibri Publishers with a very interesting and, from a creative professional’s point of view, quite a rare assignment request.

The company was to celebrate its 25th birthday and in order to do so, they had a large-scale campaign in mind, which encompassed a number of different events the biggest ones being a cinematic festival (which included only movies, that are based on books) and a photographic exhibition, which included portraits of some of the Publishers’ authors or Bulgarian celebrities, all holding a book of their choosing in the picture.

This was a relatively simple assignment at a first glance, but since they’d decided to book me to execute a number of different images, I felt that I need to take it a step further in order to truly create something memorable, something worthy of the soul and dedication this publishing house seems to put in every single one of their projects.

After a short brainstorming with their team and spending some time to think about it myself, we came to an agreement, that it could be interesting to portray these people not only holding a book, but to also make them somehow being “a part” of the book, or the epoch it represents.

The problem was that it was 15 images we were talking about and I had this uplifting deadline of just a little more than three weeks to set up the whole production, shoot these very busy people and leave the amazing post production artists I have the pleasure to work with enough time, so that they could do their thing and do it with minimum stress possible. I decided to open a beer.

TheOldManFinalIcko Finci as “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson, photography by Ivaylo Petrov

style by Silvia Vladimirova

post-production by Zlatina Zareva

This job not being one, which comes through a traditional advertising agency, I had to literally take on such an agency’s responsibilities and act as a mediator between my client from one side and my team from another. Luckily for me, the client was as open to creative suggestions as it gets, and my team was top-notch amazing. I really can’t stress enough the importance to have people you could consistently rely on in such cases. A photographer might probably be the most important figure on the set, because, in the end, he is the one who makes it all “blend together” when it comes to the day of the shoot, but honestly – the outcome of a successful photosession is determined by two major factors – how good you are as this photographer and how much work you have done before you even set foot in your studio. To me, while the first part is a matter of a constant personal development, a passion, a lifestyle, an ability to truly blend your experience from different and possibly even unrelated sides of your life in your work, the second part is where you are absolutely dependent on your team, these extremely rare cases when you know you’d call someone and he’d “click” in a way, not unlike yours. I felt so privileged to have such people on my side that a second beer was the logical choice.

TSUKURUwebYosif Shamli as “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami, photographed by Ivaylo Petrov

creative and post-production by Emmanuela Belovarski

make-up by Marina Mladenova

style by Silvia Vladimirova

Long story short – we did it.

I believe we did it well.

It took a few almost sleepless nights. It took a missing car an hour before the beginning of the first shooting day (incidentally full of clothes for the very same occasion). It took me acting as a creative, a coordinator, an account manager, a delivery guy, a photographer and a person who doesn’t posses quite a short temper (the last part was the hardest. Beer helped.) It took working in one of the best studios I could think of. It took working in one of the worst locations I could dream of. It took a very think neck. It took a broken lamp.

But we did it.


Jacueline Wagenstein as “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” by David Lagercrantz, photographed by Ivaylo Petrov

post-production by Zlatina Zareva

style by Silvia Vladimirova

make-up by Marina Mladenova

hair by Yordan Alexandrov

This project takes a special place in my heart.

Apart from its exhausting nature (on a number of different levels), it gave me a certain determination, because it was so out of the usual bounds. It was a test to both me and the people I trust and it was a test taken well enough.

When it comes to photography, there are few pleasures I can think of, which are greater than seeing an idea come to fruition in its raw state. I feel so very thankful that, from time to time, I get the call from someone, initially a client, oftentimes  later a friend, who would entrust his campaign on my creative judgement.

After all, isn’t it one of the biggest things a photographer could hope for?

DragоDrago Simeonov by Ivaylo Petrov from Ian McEwan’s “The Innocent”, style by Silvia Vladimirova

MayaBezhanskaMaya Bezhanska by Ivaylo Petrov, portrayed as Amelie Nothomb, style by Silvia Vladimirova, make-up by Marina Mladenova, hair by Yordan Alexandrov


Irmena Irmena Chichikova as melancholic Verginia Woolfe, style by Silvia Vladimirova, make-up by Marina Mladenova