Holiday Pictures: Before I was a photographer

I like looking at the photos I took before I knew that I was going to be a photographer.

Many photographers have a great story to tell like “I was given my first camera by my dad when I was 12 and I’ve been obsessed with photography ever since.”

At that age, I thought photography was boring: it didn’t exist for me and the only images I was interested in were photos from my holidays

Evelina, my mum, just before the solar eclipse Golden Sands, Bulgaria, 1999

Evelina, my mum, just before the solar eclipse
Golden Sands, Bulgaria, 1999

The experience of being on holiday seemed so extraordinary and remote from my daily life - I needed evidence that it actually happened.

Once, I forgot my bag at the bus station and never got it back. I still remember this only because the camera with my holiday film was in it and they were gone!

Another time our holiday apartment was burgled and every single item was taken – again, the only thing I missed was the film inside my parents’ point-and-shoot compact Olympus.

All I wanted was to capture the moment and experience it again back home.

Czech Republic, 1996

Czech Republic, 1996

I took the photos for me and had no need to share them with anyone, I just wanted to remember the moment, every detail and look at it again and again…

Born just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, I lived in some interesting places – a secret military town in Kamchatka, Russian Far East, in the late 80s; post-Soviet Kiev, Ukraine in the 90s, all the holidays I took in Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic – that part of the world has changed so much in the last 30 years - I wish I had always been a photographer to capture it.

I feel like all those people who say “I should have invested in property 20 years ago!” when that unique window of opportunity has closed.

Pancake seller, Obzor, Bulgaria, 1998

Pancake seller,
Obzor, Bulgaria, 1998

The world is constantly evolving and going through a process of change of some sort …I wonder how much it’s really possible to grasp the bigger picture of what’s happening in personal, family, community life and even globally as it is happening?

My friend Vlada, Kaplice, Czech Republic, 1996

My friend Vlada,
Kaplice, Czech Republic, 1996

In parallel as a 13-16 year old at the time I focused on my personal life and what mattered to me.

My friends Lena and Maxim at the summer camp disco Kaplice, Czech Republic, 1996

My friends Lena and Maxim at the summer camp disco
Kaplice, Czech Republic, 1996

I shot one or two 36 exposure films in an entire trip, mostly of my travel companions – family and friends, and the holiday locations where everything seemed special. That’s what I thought photography was for - capturing the moment.

"Stay, thou art so beautiful!" Goethe's Faust

My friends and I (in the middle) at the Horizont Night Club Obzor, Bulgaria 1999

My friends and I (in the middle) at the Horizont Night Club
Obzor, Bulgaria 1999

For me this was photography in its pure form – I had no agenda, the aim was to capture that moment in its entirety, if I was in the picture I didn’t have to pose and it didn’t matter what I looked like.

It was bigger than me and in that there was a certain creative freedom, a light touch, unattached to producing a perfect result – an approach I would like to harness in myself more than ever now, that I do know that I am a photographer :)

Alina Kisina