Literary Orphans

Mariya Petrova-Existencia — Artist Profile

MPE2Mariya Petrova-Existencia’s work is life in all its tragedy. This budding photographer has already been featured in National Geographic–and no wonder, her shots capture the wrinkly wisdom of the world we live in. Perhaps most notable of all, are the portrait photographs she is able to pull from her subjects. They stand and sit and twirl in a timelessness that is not seen in portrait photography enough. Rooted in their place, in their occupations, in their tasks — the subjects of Mariya’s lens are so vibrant you would have sworn you’d seen them somewhere before. Mariya, in her interview below, states “I [was] aware of my existence since I was able to generate any kind of thinking.” Is it any wonder, then, that she is so proficient at capturing the hyper-realism of our reality?

Maryia lives in Valencia, Spain, where she has taken root and found inspiration for the last ten years. You can FIND her work at:

What sparked your interest in photography, and when did you know you would pursue being an artist?
What sparked my passion for photography was on the one hand, knowledge of art acquired during my childhood, taught by my parents (teachers of fine arts), and on the other hand, the influence of my brother Kaloyan Bogdanov-Kalo, a young artist, known for his pictorial wisdom, symbolism and great freedom in artistic creations.
What other artists and art forms have influenced you and your work?
Diane Arbust [and] Jan Saudek are some interesting photographers, but they do not influence my photographs.

Can you describe your current artistic process, habits, techniques you have formed?
My inspiration is the Spanish spirit and the world I econtré here. I am guided by the philosophical existentialism, so I call “existence”.

Is storytelling important in your photography?
As a means of expression [that] symbols use. The images are associated with a semiotic concept and messages are clear, but leave little to the viewer. The direction of my work is purely conceptual, but my models are in an environment informal. I think good photographs are made ​​with patience, argument and the idea of a message to convey. I like photography and conceptual work in black and white, so the idea is more obvious. My models are freely chosen and integrated into existentialism through my photos.

I prefer to create my works taking into account external factors: appearance of the model, the environment, etc. Being aware of this, I can begin to create new worlds where my models feel great.

What are some of your favorite books, poems, authors?

Pablo Neruda – Good morning … I come in?

Where do you turn for motivation and new sources of inspiration?
A gesture can inspire me, [even] noise, odor, etc.

Can you put into words the way you have evolved over time as a photographer?
I [was] aware of my existence since I was able to generate any kind of thinking. Therefore I feel free and therefore makes me responsible for what I do every day — photography. Photography means freedom [to me], which is equivalent to [the] hard work that has been ongoing for years.

Discuss the role of community and gallery showings, etc to your growth as an artist.
[I] participate in various photographic contests. [I answer] invitations I receive from all over the world, [which helps me grow].

What is a project, or theme you are currently working on, or something that is currently taking your attention, that you are aiming to explore in your work?
[My] best photo exists somewhere in my head, when I [find them], it’s just one more [I create]. I want to implement colors and start with a “yellow” topic, [in inspiration] of a local contest [in Valencia, Spain].


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