about



" Tell us a bit about yourself:

I was named after my parents' favorite French singer Sylvie Vartan. It may partly explain my deep love for Art. I was born in Bulgaria and am now based in Toronto, Canada, where I live with my smart and kind teenage son, my thoughtful and caring husband and our handsome and mischievous Chocolate Labrador.

 Explain what you do in 100 words or less:

I photograph, I write, I teach, I learn, I parent, I travel and try to live in the present moment, paying attention to the small joys in life. I photograph food, people, and all kinds of pretty things as I participate in different projects as well as write editorials for various magazines.     


What is your background? How/when did you become interested in photography?

I hold a Master’s degree in Education and have devoted years of teaching and lecturing in strong belief I was doing what I was born to do. One day, under the right set of circumstances, I guess, it struck me - the classroom become too “tight” and noisy in order to fulfill my creative and spiritual needs. In January of 2011, I began to write a blog about life’s simple pleasures and since I am an extremely visual person, I wanted to visualize my thoughts so I started shooting. Something began to shift in me. My sense of time changed. I was absorbed by the activity of capturing and expanding the tiny whispers of all kind of beauty that was available around me. I was in my element.  I was challenged again. I was hungry to learn. The support and encouragement I received from family, friends and readers was astonishing. Since then I have been attending numerous photography courses and workshops, and I am in the process of obtaining a Professional Diploma in Creative Photography. Food photography somehow naturally has stood out as my favorite still life photography. Perhaps, it is because, it greatly involves styling, props and romantic light. It is a process that begins long before the click of the shutter button and extends beyond it. How I am going to interpret the muffins for my son’s bake sale, or my mom’s tomato juice into intriguing, inspiring image endlessly fascinates me.

 What emotional reaction are you hoping for when someone sees your imagery?

To be honest, I am not motivated by the reaction of others. I shoot because it moves me and makes me infinitely happy. Photography gives me a tool to materialize my inner feelings, thoughts and ideas for life. I know that a piece of art can speak differently to people since all perceive it in their own way, so in the end, judgments of this kind are purely subjective. Having said that, I am also aware of the fact that if an artist knows who he is, stays honest to his true self and follows his aesthetic sense, people respond to it in a very kind and positive way.  Artwork as such inevitably affects others, makes them feel good, and encourages them to look closer and create. In Picasso’s words “ The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls”. I like his definition; yet, if my photography possesses means to cause viewers to give pause, reflect and rejoice in the simplicity of ordinary, everyday moments, it would be more than enough.

Where do you take your inspiration from?

As cliché as it may sound, inspiration can be found everywhere; as long as my heart and mind are open to let it in. I am inspired by books, art, nature, sun’s light and places but most importantly by people who tune in to their most authentic self and live their best lives. 

How would you describe your photographic style?

I am not very sure I have developed my photography style yet. This is so, because I believe it is a journey that takes time. It is an extension of your personality; the way you see things, the choices you make, what is important to you, and your perception of beauty are presented through the images you take. Since I am constantly changing, learning, thus evolving, I believe my photography style undergoes corresponding changes as well. However, every time I style and shoot food, I aspire to create an honest, organic, unpretentious, friendly and approachable representation of the subject, when the eyes are drawn to the food and the viewer is inspired to expand the beauty of the food to his own. I use natural, soft light, subtle color schemes, simple composition and styling using vintage pieces as props.   

 What about that style appeals to you?

This style creates idyllic atmosphere, yet, natural and accessible. The photo is ordinary, rather spontaneous with casual everyday feel that inspires, touches, evokes enjoyment of preparing and eating food, and eventually motivates for putting on the apron and running to the kitchen. Even though, I like glossy, sharp, stunningly beautiful images with dramatic (studio) light, but they seem too perfect and “museum-like” to me that they often distance the audiences in an “I-am-not-able-to-do-that” way. 

 Are there certain “props” you use to help you convey your vision?

I am passionate about all things vintage and own a substantial collection of vintage items. I predominantly collect old china teacups and saucers, white ironstones, silver spoons and forks, kitchen gadgets, mirrors, old postcards and books. I also inherited gorgeous hand-woven European linens from my grandma, which I tremendously cherish. Every other Sunday is devoted to antiquing and flea markets, looking for new finds.


What do you do when you feel uninspired? Where do you look to recharge your creativity?

The primary fuel of my creativity is nature with the rhythm of the seasons. Walking with the trees or on the country road, in the woodland, garden or on the beach, I take in the sights and sounds, smells and textures of every leaf, flower, bird, stone and sunset… The divine artistry of nature always brings me back to the essence of being, to the one-ness of all things and somehow the balance and inspiration gracefully returns.

When you are at your best possible version of yourself, who are you? What does this person want you to put your energy toward?

I tend to believe that the self-aware, more simple, yet sophisticated, humble, grateful and ego-less me is the best version of myself. Sylvia as this is open to communicate with others and share her love, vulnerability, appreciation and enjoyment of life. My energy is put toward creating prose and images, which I hope, would help me and others to live simple and meaningful lives, to dig deep down to find this sense of “I” that is disentangled from things, labels, opinions, expectations, social roles, race, profession and past times.

How do you handle setbacks in regard to your artistic work? How do you implement changes?

I have come to a point in my life where I accept difficult situations without deep fear. I have seen failure, disappointments and rejections. Being an optimist by nature, I try to keep in mind that a setback is only temporary; after all, setbacks happen to all of us. My strong roots are in place and I trust my judgments. I keep going on creating by giving the best I am capable of because taking photos is what I love to do and I have to be willing to accept what it takes. I read, I visit exhibitions; I try to be familiar with everything that is going on in the field of photography and art in general. I am still working on making uncertainty and imperfection my friends, though. Teaching taught me to be flexible. Photography has also showed me that I cannot always control the outcomes. Things do not always work out the way they are planned. With such attitude, implementing changes in regards of my artistic work is quite easy and normal, but never for the expense of my aesthetic sense. ..."


(the entire interview is published in the Summer Issue, 2014 of Scarlet Pink Magazine)





I am available for portraits, family sessions and freelance photography projects. I will be happy to work with you. 
Send me an email at bagrian2002@yahoo.com

Thank you for your interest. 








  

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