A Few Frames Cut from “Transiting Bulgaria” – by Simon King

By Simon

Curating for a publication will always leave gems by the wayside for one reason or another. I recently went through this process for a piece that was actually quite difficult to structure, as the underlying story was not bound to a clear narrative, and instead contained a more disparate collection of untethered moments.

The publication in question is “Transiting Bulgaria” which contains a diary of my time spent running down the clock in Bulgaria, which was necessary in order to meet travel criteria to make it onwards to the States. This was a space I arrived in specifically to leave, an in-between space which I entered with no expectations, allowing it to become its own thing.

Aside from what I produced on Christmas (which I’ve written about separately, here), there was no real thread or through line to the collection of mostly street photographs, so I needed to figure out something that made sense even to myself in order to put a structure to the presentation of work. I decided to map out the work according to the route I would take each day through he city. Although I didn’t hit the same spots in the same order each day there was still a sort of order which made sense in my head, and that’s what I held onto while curating and sequencing the zine.

Some of the double page spreads feature the same location photographed on two separate days, documenting slight changes in that landscape. Christmas has been grouped into it’s own little sequence, and there is another “area” dedicated to some of the skate-community I documented across a few days there.

Some of my “singles” didn’t fit into place with any of the connections I was making between images while sequencing, which means their value is a little reduced, but they still show a few nice moments from that time. Most feature characters or themes which do show up in the zine, but in very different ways than shown here. All were shot on APX400 or HP5+.

This photograph of a woman dropping coins into the violin case of a street performer only really works with this 21×9 crop, which would not have worked its way into any of the spreads of the zine.

This moment of a boy’s shadow falling onto a broken pillar as he climbs some ruins in the city centre is sort of OK on screen, but falls apart in print, so didn’t find it’s place in my publication.

I like this portrait of this lovely lady who I passed by most days, she was always sat at the same corner feeding the local pigeon population. I took this when I first chatted with her, but there is one with a better composition, and a little more energy which can be found in the zine.

These two women were feeding this stray dog. who rests elevated on a sheet of cardboard set on top of a bollard by the street near the market. Although she covered her face here she was friendly afterwards and had just been caught by surprise seeing my camera up.

This still life isn’t the best composition, but contains a few elements that ended up incorporated into other images. The mountains enveloped in cloud in the middle, the three pillars of a monument at the bottom of the frame, the wintery barren tree at the top. It’s a bit cluttered and no one thing really stands out, so it wasn’t a keeper.

Thanks for reading! If you like how these images feel, my zine “Transiting Bulgaria” is currently available on my website! I buy all of my film from Analogue Wonderland.

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About The Author

By Simon
Simon is a documentary photographer. This means narrative projects, told via long form photo-essays, and publications. Follow him on Instagram for a rolling feed of his work: www.instagram.com/simonking_v. His personal blog can be found at: streetdances.wordpress.com
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Andrew L on A Few Frames Cut from “Transiting Bulgaria” – by Simon King

Comment posted: 18/06/2021

I like all of these! There's a lot of simple drama to the compositions and subject matter.

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Simon replied:

Comment posted: 18/06/2021

Thank you so much Andrew! Really appreciated :)


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