Tina Boyadjieva is a professional photographer living in New York City. She specializes in portraits and has led several projects in various countries, including Italy, Greece, South Africa, Vietnam, Cuba… She has lived in Florida, California, North Carolina, London and New York City. We have asked her a few questions about her passion for photography and her experience.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography has been a passion ever since I put my hands on a camera when I was 6 years old. It is my way of expression, reflection on how I perceive the world around me, and my way of impacting/giving back to others. It is the only thing which can engage my complete attention, mind, spirit and imagination to the point I lose track of time, place and physical barriers. I am waiting for the day when I will fall off of a cliff or a ladder trying to take a picture.
You have done a lot of work on portraits. What kind of emotions are you looking for? How do you select your models?
I seek to represent the true self of a person and capture their inner and outer beauty. I do believe we are all beautiful in our own personal and special way. I try to first connect with my subject, and help them relax and arrive at a point where they are just being themselves. The best pictures are those spontaneous, in-the-moment shots which speak with emotion rather than technical precision or aesthetic perfection. I never go for the mainstream beauty, I prefer a girl with space between her front teeth, freckles or unusual color eyes because beauty for me resides in the perfectly imperfect features of us as human beings.
You have travelled in many countries. Tell us about your best photography experiences overseas.
Indeed I have travelled a lot, and taken hundreds of pictures of people and places. But my best photography experiences have always been the ones I have had a personal connection with the subjects.
I spent 3 months in Florence photographing 25 artisans/masters of various media who follow techniques and skills from generations and centuries of expertise. I spent at least half a day with each artisan not only photographing their ways of working, spaces, and the miraculous objects they created, but also hearing their life stories, getting to know them as artists and people.
The other very personal project was photographing a family of fishermen on the island of Stromboli off the coast of Sicily. Similarly to the artisans in Florence, these men fish using the old traditions – with wood boats in the open sea and with handmade nets. I went out in sea with them, lived with them and truly felt as part of their family.
You are also hosting photography classes in New York City. What do you like teaching in these classes?
I teach my approach of taking a portrait from composition and expression point of view. If you are an amateur who is looking to improve your way of taking pictures of people, I can share how I search for light, how I look to compose a photo, what I chose as focus points and how simply direction of body posture can slim people or emphasize their facial proportions in a better way.
For more information about Tina and her photography workshops in New York, check her profile on Keenobby: https://www.keenobby.com/activity/photography-art-portrait/
If you are interested in Tina’s exhibitions, take a look at her website: http://www.tinaboyadjieva.com