The village of Polkovnik-Serafimovo has a deep and rich history that is closely tied to the broader history of Bulgaria. Historically agrarian, it is currently a village in transition. Several generations of flight to the cities have left an aging population clinging to a bye-gone way of life. While cell phones have become the favored form of communication, it is still common for cows to be milked by hand and yogurt to be homemade. As the village ages the women seem to be the lattice supporting much of the culture.
Each poster announcing a death leaves another home abandoned and another lost link to a lifestyle nearing extinction. The occasional grandchild visiting on summer holiday and the few well-to-do foreigners rebuilding homes for vacations pump a margin of vitality into the village. But this new blood is also emblematic of, and even accelerating, the inevitable changes.
The landscapes, buildings, stylistic details, and history of Polkovnik-Serafimovo tell a wonderful, but incomplete, story. To truly capture the soul of a village you need to know its people. The people living in the village at any given moment define its culture.
I hope my images; “A Portrait of a Village”, offer an honest glimpse of a village truly straddling two worlds. Of course they are only a snapshot in time, and my impressions are biased by my own viewpoint and aesthetic.
Many thanks to the Griffis/Orpheus Foundation, everyone who made this project possible, and most importantly the people of Polkovnik-Serafimovo who have accepted me as one of their own.