Georgieva Yordanka would like to share with us her liberating approach to portraiture. Her refreshing project, ‘Everyone has two sides’, encapsulates the neglected truth that each of us is to a certain extent composed of a split personality. This is something we should embrace; to deny it is to live a lie. Her compassionate message complimented by her eye for detail means that the series is a technical, humanistic and artistic triumph. Here at The Bubble we couldn’t resist asking the artist herself a few questions in order to find out what’s happening behind the facade…
What was the original inspiration behind the project? And what is the message you hope to convey?
I am one of those photographers that uses self-portraits as self-study, or as we like to call it “Self Portrait Therapy”. The series began with me taking self-portraits (see above) and realizing I wanted to expand the project and involve more people.
What inspired me is something that has always fascinated and scared me at the same time – how one person can be so different at different moments. I think this also makes us feel guilty sometimes, due to all the expectations other have about us and our reactions – if a person is generally nice to everyone, others start expecting them to always act in this way to the extent that if they see them expressing anger, they’re disappointed. This attitude is flagrantly hypocritical, because everyone is multi-faceted; we all have different faces and should be allowed to express each one of them.
How do you try to use lighting effectively?
I am absolutely in love with natural light, as opposed to studio light. I find it comfortable; it’s like having a good friend whom you know really well and by just looking at them you can tell if it’s gonna be a good day or not.
So on rainy days, I have to seek out an indoor location with good lighting. This (see above) was actually taken in the Great North Museum in Newcastle. In order to catch the rays on Marie’s face, we had to take the photos on the staircases next to the big windows.
Oh, the things we do for good light…
What, in your opinion, makes a good portrait?
The pure emotion. Capturing the moment, whether that is a dimple when someone smiles or a teardrop at the corner of their eye – these things usually pass within a second and we rarely get to admire them for longer. This is what I love about photography –it’s the memory I never had but wish I did.
Do you think your artwork engenders empathy?
This was my intention, I really hope it does make people stop for a second and say “We are all different. And that’s OK.”
Is there a reason why all your models are female?
That’s funny, I actually never noticed. On starting the project, I just wrote about it on my Facebook page and invited my friends to volunteer to be models if they’re interested. I am so grateful for all the messages I received and am sorry I haven’t had the time to take photos of more than half the people that wanted to participate. I met with the models in the order they have written to me, so there is really no deep meaning behind the fact that it’s only girls – they were the first ones to participate. But maybe this says that girls feel more comfortable in front of the camera.
Is it important to get to know your models beforehand? If so, why?
For me, it is. I don’t think a portrait is going to be powerful if it doesn’t express someone’s identity and if you want to capture that – you first have to know what you’re looking for. People are so unique and extraordinary, and if you want to immortalize that uniqueness in a photo, you have to know what’s behind the face that’s in front of your camera.