On 19th of June 2014, the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Varna was hit by heavy rain. Just after the downpour, the suburb of Asparuhovo, named after the founder of the Bulgarian state Khan Asparuh, was swamped by a three-meter high tidal wave that suddenly fell from nearest woodland, sweeping away houses, trees and cars, killing 13 people, including four children. The worst-hit area was the Roma neighborhood, where most of the victims lived.
According to the authorities, the disaster was caused by unmaintained drains and an illegal waste site, which allowed vast amounts of water to collect and sweep awa illegally built houses. However, residents believe the huge wave was not caused by the torrential rain, but from a breakage of the nearby military base’s reservoir. Other rumors range from divine retribution, through UFO interference, to a HAARP attack.
Right after the flood I spent three days in Asparuhovo, documenting the interiors of some of the most affected houses in the Roma neighborhood and the stories of their inhabitants.
Q&A with Nikola Mihov
…a passion, and a crossroad between my different fields of interest, from history and social issues, to architecture and graphic design.
Photography and writing…
I believe writing should bring a second dimension to the to an already visually strong work. It’s often an essential part of my practice. For my book Forget Your Past, that traces the fate of the communist-era monuments in Bulgaria I spent only few weeks on photography and more than two years in writing. I was digging throw archives, interviewing sculptors and architects in order to recreate the history of those silent symbols of the (un)forgotten past.
Who left the biggest impression on you?
The photo books in general, and my professor Antoan Bojinov, a social photographer who helped me to shape my approach to photography during my studies.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself
A: I was born in 1982 in socialist Bulgaria, so my childhood memories are marked by colorful propaganda images. At the age of 20 i moved to Paris where i become interested in Photography. I’m a passionate traveler,but I often find my subjects just next door. For my series Victoria place i portrayed the stuff of a five star Parisian hotel, where i used to work as a receptionist. I’m running an online gallery for contemporary Bulgarian photography (www.bulgarianphotographynow.com/en/) and a virtual museum of the socialist-era graphic design.