10 minutes with Plamen Petkov

Interviews with Photographers January 24, 2012 2:38 pm

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

When I realized that I was heading into the direction of becoming a not so good engineer though I love technological  innovation and non linear approach to solving problems.

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov

Whenever I am at one of the big portfolio review events, I often meet with young photographers doing still-life. Often it is a very similar book with similar images – the shot of the shampoo bottle with a splash coming from below or the stack of sunglasses. I know that these shots can be technically difficult, but it seems like there are so many other ways to shoot objects in new and interesting ways. I have always thought that with your still-life work, you can turn the mundane into really beautiful and intriguing things. What advice would you give to photographers who are just starting out and want to go in the still-life direction? When one is just starting out, do you think its all technological or should one strive to show their creativity?

I think it all comes down to the idea or approach. Yes you have to show that you are capable to execute a commercial assignment but many people can do that very well, the only thing that can separate you from them is to look at the old with a new perspective which i find very difficult. I try to avoid following trends, chasing the market is a death trap. Gimmicks and overly specific techniques are as well. Sooner or later everyone will be able to copy it, the visual sphere gets saturated and the method dies.

Good example was Polaroid transfers.

I also think that assisting is the best way to learn the technical side of the job. As long as you pay attention, there is always something to learn, even at the most seemingly boring shoot. 

 

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov


You do a lot of personal work, but you are also a photographer who gets a lot of assignments. How do you find the balance and make the time to continue working on personal projects? How important is it for you to have a personal project going on?

 

I could not have a professional career without spending substantial time on personal projects. Photography was my passion before it became a profession.

 

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov

Plamen Petkov


If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself?

I would have studied more business and more contract law – a must! I would be more pragmatic and less emotional.

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

Be kind to all the people you work with and keep you ego in check.

 

(Plamen is based in New York. See more of his work, here.)

4 Comments

  • Philippe Passeron

    I met Mr Plamen something like 15 years ago in NYC, he was at this time dealing with some photography technical stuff… he is as much a photographer than a researcher, and first of all, an Eye on our world… thanks Mr Petkov 😉

  • Love working with Plamen….All about his point of view..
    Not surprised he studied engineering….comes through in the photos

    • Thanks for your comment, Laurie! Agreed that Plamen’s background in engineering comes through in his work. -Kate

  • Exogenous

    I would rather remember my own birth than see these pictures again.

Leave a reply

required

required

optional