I am a collector of names. I weave garlands of beautiful names of Bulgarian villages, towns, and places. They are wound up in my mind, shreds of weightless beauty - beauty with no attributes, nor practical use but all encompassing Bulgaria.
Solishta. Senokos. Stikul. Surnitsa.
I visited Dryanovo some time ago. I walked into this sunny house, full of pictures from all over Bulgaria. Big, magical pictures and the sun blazing on the colours... I was dumbfounded. What fogs, and forests, and seas, and houses… flowers. The garlands of names which I’d been hiding in my head had suddenly unwound and found their visual expression.
The man who has shown me the pictures was Valentin Velchev. His idea was to gather in an album these amazingly beautiful Bulgarian places and relate them in four languages. Was it a patriotic act of love, or a desire to share with partners, friends, and guests this vision of his country or to experience again a past deprived of present?
When I was invited to join the team and start writing, a group of photographers had already been working on the realization of the idea. For more than two years they had been traversing Bulgaria but not in search for shots – their goal was to catch the momentary state of each and every place. The project had not only been in progress but tons of materials have been piled up. What was needed was a finishing touch and for the pictures to be arranged and told in words.