10 minutes with Hristo Shindov

Interviews with Photographers January 20, 2015 11:56 am

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

It is a combination between me getting my first job after high school at an Advertising studio and not learning to play an instrument and becoming the music scene photographer instead.
Diving deep in the technical side (mostly digital compositing) at the design firm all day and roaming music clubs as the guy who made the rock stars look like rockstars all night was where it all formed.
Back in my native Bulgaria -12 years back.
It took me a year to figure out that my skills in both directions were extremely limited and I headed to the US to go to photo school to learn more and properly and try to become a real photographer.

Going trough school changed my perspective a huge bit and threw me around in different directions, however when I look at what I do today – it really mirrors what I signed up for – advertising and rock’n’roll…

So, be careful what you wish for… I guess it works…

Who were the first photographers that you found inspiring? Is there an exhibition, book or image that you remember for the first time really responding to?

While digging trough various album cover and press photos in the early days I kept seeing the name of British rock photographer Ross Halfin and he became my fist inspiration. Afterwards, almost in my first week in photo school I found couple of Mark Seliger’s books in the library and he was next. I even managed to intern and work for him in New York back in 2005.

During the first year or two I did review almost every name who had anything published available. Being so obsessed I even knew who reps who in the entire business. I find it that in any art form (photography and music, in my case) after observing and taking in as many artists as possible and maturing in the field the borders and styles disappear and humans are either drawn to it or not.

Your work covers a wide range of styles; portraiture, automotive, conceptual and even video. Did you start out wanting to cover many different styles of shooting?

Well, I never had any strong agenda regarding future work… I knew what enjoyed shooting (music, adventure, concepts) , however always tried to keep an open mind and approached any new project as a great new thing to do – or a challenge, more or less.
I firmly believe in the need to stay fresh and review all subjects from different perspective.
For example shooting a band or an artist is great fun, though after dealing with all sorts of human personalities and egos – an automobile assignment where the subject can’t talk back is a very peaceful and tranquil experience.
Of course, soon thereafter the corporate nature of advertising kicks in and there are many rules and guidelines to follow and having some loose and unpredictable shoot balances things very nicely and closes the circle. It’s all about balance , really…
The other benefit when approaching different subjects and styles is that allows me to crossover with techniques, lighting and to bring typical element from one field to another – as “try to shoot a car as I would approach a portrait” … It is a great creativity booster and when it works results are fantastic… Which clients appreciate too… One art director asked me to shoot a construction crew the same way as I would shoot a rock band and it turned into a great campaign…
Also, having a personal style is a thing no one deeply involved in photography can avoid. We, as humans, all see differently and have different ways of approaching things. I believe that even though I cover a wide variety of subjects there is a common theme that be seen throughout… Epic, heroic, intense things with a bit of humor or suspense thrown in …

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

Everything in my life has happened as one thing lead to another and as such I’ve no idea if any advice could or would work. Even the events I try to regret, when I look back, have been instrumental in developing other ones that I cherish. So in such way I try not to say “only if I…” as I have figured that it is pointless and I can’t change the past.
There are certain things that I know that could have been helpful to establish better report with other people – being less stubborn, more diplomatic…
In the end though – I know that if one treats others with respect and stand up for themselves it will lead to their chosen path…

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

To find their own way and make their own mistakes- the universal teacher of all … The other is to not give up… This will prevent regrets…

 

 

(Hristo is based in Los Angeles. See more of his work, here)

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