Interview with Ivaylo Velev
Greetings Ivaylo and thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for visitors to the Dirt Bike Australia web site.
When did your interest in photography begin?
Basically I ventured my first steps into photography when I was 10. And can you guess why? The sport was the reason! Exactly at that age I began training for horse riding. My love of horses came through the westerns. As young boy I used to read them and slowly I started taking pictures of horses with my first cam, Smyana 8 M. This was an ordinary camera at that time in Bulgaria that I got from my dad and then it became mine.
All along the years I have loved taking part in sports and shooting sports. Since the year 2000 I wholeheartedly got into sport photography alone.
What made you decide to take up photography and in particular eXtreme action sports photography?
As an extreme sports photographer I have personal reason to start doing it. For myself, I am practicing two extreme sports: mountainbiking and skiing. It is always different when you take pictures of something that you personally really like. Then you pay special attention to it and you have a special attitude. But also, when I am doing my job it is somehow sharing the uniqueness of a fleeting moment. I am into it like searching for the culmination (still point) in the course of a subject’s motion, the willingness and zest of athletes to reach out ever surging limits of human abilities. Someone once said: ”One’s life is measured not by the number of times you breath in, but the number of moments you are struck out of breath!” It is exactly such flashes that had thrown at me the challenge to shoot action sports photography.
What would you say distinguishes your work from that of other photographers?
If this question is up to my value as a photographer, I would rather let the other people say. But if I should give an opinion about the extreme photographer and those that work in a studio I could answer you like this. An extreme photographer is always dependant on the weather and climate conditions, and of course of nature. Sometimes in winter time to make two, three good shoots you have to wait two or three weeks in the mountains. Than you have a very short time to act and you have no time to make mistakes. If you work in studio you can make several tries, but up there in the snow you have only one chance. And one more thing - if you shoot extreme sports you have to practice some kind of those sports to be better orientated and to understand the action. And of course, to have the feeling.
What photographic equipment do you use and why have you chosen to use that equipment?
Normally I use SLR film camera. SLR digital camera with some basic zoom lenses and flashes. Nothing special because of the conditions of my work. Mostly I have to carry all the equipment so it needs to be light, flexible so I can react as fast as possible at the situation in order to catch the moment. I need to move a lot of during the shootings and I have to always have good control of my camera and its functions. It is very important for me that I can follow the object and that is why the middle class is very practical.
You seem to take quite a few Black & White photographs, what attracts you to that style of photography?
Mostly, people associate the Black & White photography with the past, but I would say it is never out of fashion. I think that it has its space in the magazines as it reflecta a different feeling to colour photography. Generally a nice B&W image transports a little bit more of a nostalgic, artistic sense and creates an “old time” feeling. In my opinion readers have had enough of over saturated colours. So B&W makes people look at an image with different eyes. But the B&W presents a subject in a way that colours can’t match. That is why I see over saturated colour photographs as a trend. I believe that a grayscaling picture can give sports action tremendous impact and feeling of timelessness.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered in working towards becoming a
As a photographer born in Bulgaria I have met a lot of difficulties in my life to build up my professional position. It can be extremely hard to find any media outlet that would pay for your work and you know better than me that every professional should live from its job. Otherwise he has to make memory pictures [snap shots]. That is why I tried to find my own way, in order to keep developing myself and my sphere of work.
What are your goals for the future, what would you still like to achieve?
I would like to build up a team of professionals that will work only in the field of extreme sports shooting. A small company of people that love their job and would like to live from it. I would like to print every year photographical issue with some of the most interesting acts from the year's extreme sports. And of course, to shoot only extreme sport and live on wheels.
On your web site you jokingly mention that you're not really a 'family man', but seriously, do you think the
time will come when you will settle down?
I feel at home everywhere if there are extreme sports and outdoor games. And as long as I have the power to follow those actions I will not settle down.
Fair enough :-)
Do you have any advice for young photographers thinking about getting into eXtreme action sports photography
as either a career or just for fun?
Advice? I can say two things that I think could be taken as advice: they have to pursue their dreams till the end and to feel satisfisfaction from their well done work even without public recognition.
Great advice ... I couldn't agree more!
Thanks Ivaylo! The Dirt Bike Australia web site wishes you every success into the future and we hope to see you continuing to create exceptional action photography for many years to come. We appreciate your taking the time to give our visitors your thoughts.
Peter - Dirt Bike Australia web site Editor