Monday, August 18, 2014

Welcome to the Party!

This is Julian.  He's a week old today, and he's the most handsome and sweet baby boy in town, if I do say so myself.

We are doing well, recovering from birth, bonding, eating, sleeping, and loving each other the best that we can.  Life is wonderful right now, and I am so happy to be able to share it with you!

P.S. The first batch of photos I took in the hospital.  Julian was two days old then.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Flower Power

This is my last post before Julian's arrival tomorrow!  Before I take this baby break, however, I want to leave you with a few current - and positive - images.  John gave me farmers' market flowers this morning, and I photographed them this afternoon with the help of Shelby.

See you guys soon!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Window Selfies

Our London house was a mess.  Every time a large truck (or better, a lorry) passed by, it shook to the foundations and the windows rattled.  That's why we never used that front room on the ground floor - it stood empty, except when I used it as a "photo room".  It had those despicable curtains and a moldy smell to it...but it worked well when the light was just right.

Here are two of my favorite selfies taken there.  The first one has a flare I never managed to recreate since, and I love the lace shadow on the blank paper I'm holding.  This was taken on January 1st, 2010 as a part of a 365 Project.  The second one continues the paper theme - I took this at the end of a semester, when I was getting fed up with all the coursework I had to do.

Snow Over Broomfield Park

One of the coolest things about where we used to live in London was the local park.  Well, I should say one of the parks - the biggest and the most interesting.  Broomfield Park had ducks and geese and swans, ponds and fountains, flower beds and rose gardens, a tennis court, a gazebo, a greenhouse, a football field, a playground, hilly grass grounds and many smooth benched alleys surrounded by old trees.  I loved walking there and spending the entire afternoon reading, taking photos, or just daydreaming and people watching.

It snows seldom in London, so when it did that year - I think that was in the beginning of 2010 - I had to go out shooting.  Not many successful images but a few I particularly like.  Behold the fattest squirrel in the world!


These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Three or so days before my due date and still no signs of labor, so I had a little time to continue with my backup project.  These still life images aren't anything special, but to me they represent my college self quite well.  I was free to read as much as I wanted, to listen to loud rock music, to have a beer now and then, and to dress up.  Also, to photographically experiment with light around the house at my own leisure!  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In Memory of Alonso, the Jaguar

A few days ago a ten-year old jaguar named Alonso escaped his enclosure at the Lovech Zoo, and hid in the abundant forest surrounding the zoo.  A search party was sent to tranquilize and capture the animal, to no avail.  Instead, Alonso was shot and killed by local hunters.

Now, this story actually should read as following - a careless (and surely unmotivated and underpaid) zookeeper left the jaguar enclosure door open while cleaning it, thus enabling the animal to escape.  And "enclosure" is also probably a strong word for a filthy, narrow cell.  The Lovech Zoo is, and has been, in a squalid condition for decades.  There isn't even a concept of humane treatment in those responsible for the maintenance of the facility, very few investments, and while the animals aren't generally starved or abused on purpose, their conditions are appalling.  

Neglect and ignorance towards wildlife is, unfortunately, a very common result of the socio-cultural problems most Eastern-European countries have while struggling politically and economically.

It is also safe to assume that the person (or people) who shot Alonso did it just to get a kick out of it.  Typically, there's no clear explanation to the public of what really went down, and how.  The zookeeper will lose his job, the case will be swept under the rug, and it will all remain an unfortunate memory the people of Lovech will tell each other as an urban legend.  How sad, but what can you do...?!

 Bulgarian resignation to people's professional incompetence and their lack of accountability are another set of social failures resulting from the perpetual crisis the country has been since 1989.  

What I am most bothered with, however, is this hardening of the heart, this moral decline people are experiencing, that threatens their very humanity.  Love and empathy for nature and animals is a sign of enlightenment and civilized existence I just have such a trouble seeing in my homeland....

The last time I visited the Lovech Zoo was in the summer of 2009, and it was when I took these couple of pictures of Alonso the Jaguar.  

I hope you enjoyed your last walk in the wild, buddy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Kids, Cats, and Cameras

And just a few more shots from the same day - after we came home from the park Johnny decided to attack Shelby.  It is the sweetest kiss-attack you can imagine, even though the cat would disagree.

Youth is a perpetual intoxication; it is a fever of the mind.

~Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld

This is most probably our last photo session before the baby comes in a few days.  I wanted to capture the three of us the way we are now - absolutely unaware of what life will be as four.  We are happy to find out, though.  It will be tough in the beginning, but it will also be so much fun.  I am sure of it.

My Dad too joined us this weekend, and I am quite fond of how his portraits turned out.  The light was amazing that morning - going on noon - and it kept changing in the most interesting ways as we moved through the park.  I like how the trees filtered it, and even the part-shade, part-sun headshots turned out fine.  The bokeh is almost painfully good here, and if I wasn't as partial I would have found it distracting.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I Do.

Six years ago John and I got married in a small, improvised, and super fun ceremony in Lovech, Bulgaria.  It was a crazy day, a wonderful day!  Our families and closest friends were there, and we danced, talked, laughed, cried, and celebrated our love for each other.  I could go on all day about the event, as I recall so many awesome details about it...but my most favorite moment of all will always be the way John looked at me when he saw me walking down the aisle.  Blessed are the people who have ever felt so cherished, so wanted, so appreciated, and so adored as I did.  

It has only gotten better since.  Harder, too - but so much better!  We perpetuate our love every day, with everything we do together and for each other.

John, you are my person, my guy.  I still do, and I always will.  I love you.

Photos by the most awesome Lyubomir Lyubenov.