The Last Man Standing in the Rhodope Mountains


I have been roaming about the Rhodope Mountains for almost 15 years now, which is probably not an overstatement, as I feel that I have left a part of me in the heights. Over the years, it felt like I was looking for something long forgotten that has now disappeared and will never return. That is how “The Last Man Standing in the Rhodope Mountains” project was born, in the course of which I visited 985 villages — from Gotse Delchev to Ivaylovgrad and from Asenovgrad to Xanthi. It was an attempt to capture the past and an entire culture that is slowly fading away forever. All of the shots I made were black and white.

The legend goes that in those same mountains Orpheus lamented the death of his wife Eurydice. His singing was so captivating and his dedication so absolute that Hades ultimately agreed to let Eurydice return among the living. However, there was one condition: Orpheus was not allowed to look back while leading Eurydice out of the underworld.

We can only defeat death once we truly understand that it does not exist. Orpheus lost his beloved Eurydice, because by looking back, he separated the past from the present, incapable of perceiving life as a manifestation of Eternity.

It took me years to realize that. I gradually stopped viewing the past as something forever lost, and when looking into people’s eyes, I started seeing the reflection of those who inhabited the mountains before them. Colour began to make an appearance in the new shots, and I even introduced it to some of the old ones. I hope that this time I will be able to save Eurydice.

Ramadan (Bezvodno, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ramadan (Bezvodno, Bulgaria, 2018)
Fatme (Chavka, Bulgaria, 2019)
Fatme (Chavka, Bulgaria, 2019)
Sevdalina (Kesten, Bulgaria, 2018)
Sevdalina (Kesten, Bulgaria, 2018)
Stefan (Popsko, Bulgaria, 2020)
Stefan (Popsko, Bulgaria, 2020)
Emrah (Kasak, Bulgaria, 2018)
Emrah (Kasak, Bulgaria, 2018)
Fikret (Zhalt kamak, Bulgaria, 2018)
Fikret (Zhalt kamak, Bulgaria, 2018)
Hristina (Apriltsi, Bulgaria, 2019)
Hristina (Apriltsi, Bulgaria, 2019)
Покрован
Митко Гробаря
Покрован Митко Гробаря
Ahmed and Memo (Malchok, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ahmed and Memo (Malchok, Bulgaria, 2018)
Todor (Churukovo, Bulgaria, 2020)
Todor (Churukovo, Bulgaria, 2020)
Dancho from Plevun (Zhelezare, Bulgaria, 2018)
Dancho from Plevun (Zhelezare, Bulgaria, 2018)
Sevim (Ridino, Bulgaria, 2018)
Sevim (Ridino, Bulgaria, 2018)
Svetlin (Osikovo, Bulgaria, 2020)
Svetlin (Osikovo, Bulgaria, 2020)
Alish, the bar keeper and a client (Chereshovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Alish, the bar keeper and a client (Chereshovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Husein and Kaya Ahmed (Myrtiski, Greece, 2018)
Husein and Kaya Ahmed (Myrtiski, Greece, 2018)
Kaya Ahmed (Myrtiski, Greece, 2018)
Kaya Ahmed (Myrtiski, Greece, 2018)
Hristo Dimitrov in the old school, math and physics teacher (Egrek, Bulgaria, 2018)
Hristo Dimitrov in the old school, math and physics teacher (Egrek, Bulgaria, 2018)
Stefan Yorgov, a school physician (Egrek, Bulgaria, 2018)
Stefan Yorgov, a school physician (Egrek, Bulgaria, 2018)
Jamal and his wife (Lyubcha, Bulgaria, 2007)
Nicola and Ivan, traveling blacksmiths (Smolevo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Nicola and Ivan, traveling blacksmiths (Smolevo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Yuri and his grandson (Kirkovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Yuri and his grandson (Kirkovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Aysel and Ayse sorting tobacco leaves (Krushevo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Aysel and Ayse sorting tobacco leaves (Krushevo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Yasen (Kozarka, Bulgaria, 2019)
Yasen (Kozarka, Bulgaria, 2019)
Mustafa (Bel Kamen, Bulgaria, 2018)
Mustafa (Bel Kamen, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ibrahim (Kuzyovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ibrahim (Kuzyovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Sali (Yonchevo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Sali (Yonchevo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Kadir The Madman (Devintsi, Bulgaria, 2018)
Kadir The Madman (Devintsi, Bulgaria, 2018)
Hasan (Gorski Izvor, Bulgaria, 2018)
Hasan (Gorski Izvor, Bulgaria, 2018)
Zdravko, the mayor of Dolen (Dolen, Bulgaria, 2018)
Zdravko, the mayor of Dolen (Dolen, Bulgaria, 2018)
Fatme (Domishte, Bulgaria, 2019)
Fatme (Domishte, Bulgaria, 2019)
Fatme from Ribnovo (near Osenovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Fatme from Ribnovo (near Osenovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Avishe (Butreva, Bulgaria, 2018)
Avishe (Butreva, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ibrahim from Ribnovo (near Osenovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ibrahim from Ribnovo (near Osenovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Jamal the Tall Man (Gyovren, Bulgaria, 2018)
Jamal the Tall Man (Gyovren, Bulgaria, 2018)
Gypsy camp (Madzhari, Bulgaria, 2018)
Gypsy camp (Madzhari, Bulgaria, 2018)
Emine, a mushroom-gatherer (Cholakovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Emine, a mushroom-gatherer (Cholakovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Mustafa (Konche, Bulgaria, 2019)
Mustafa (Konche, Bulgaria, 2019)
Hussein has built more than 250 water wells across the Rhodope mountains. (Dzhelepsko, Bulgaria, 2018)
Hussein has built more than 250 water wells across the Rhodope mountains. (Dzhelepsko, Bulgaria, 2018)
Sayman (Tsrancha, Bulgaria, 2018)
Sayman (Tsrancha, Bulgaria, 2018)
Mustafa (Zlataritsa, Bulgaria, 2018)
Mustafa (Zlataritsa, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ahmed (Smolevo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ahmed (Smolevo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Gypsy family (Popsko, Bulgaria, 2018)
Gypsy family (Popsko, Bulgaria, 2018)
Valentin (Osikovo, Bulgaria, 2020)
Valentin (Osikovo, Bulgaria, 2020)
A lumberjack (Madzhari, Bulgaria, 2018)
A lumberjack (Madzhari, Bulgaria, 2018)
Slavey (Buynovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Slavey (Buynovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Myumyun, the last inhabitant of Avramsko (Avramsko, Bulgaria, 2019)
Myumyun, the last inhabitant of Avramsko (Avramsko, Bulgaria, 2019)
Kiril (Egrek, Bulgaria, 2018)
Kiril (Egrek, Bulgaria, 2018)
Adem (Zhalt kamak, Bulgaria, 2020)
Adem (Zhalt kamak, Bulgaria, 2020)
Myki, Greece, 2019
Myki, Greece, 2019
Myki, Greece, 2019
Myki, Greece, 2019
Angelina and Angel from Velingrad (Rohleva, Bulgaria, 2018)
Angelina and Angel from Velingrad (Rohleva, Bulgaria, 2018)
Silen, Bulgaria, 2018
Silen, Bulgaria, 2018
Ana (Koritata, Bulgaria, 2020)
Ana (Koritata, Bulgaria, 2020)
Vaklinovo, Bulgaria, 2018
Vaklinovo, Bulgaria, 2018
Ebru and Ozgur (Varbentsi, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ebru and Ozgur (Varbentsi, Bulgaria, 2018)
Card players (Nanovitsa, Bulgaria, 2018)
Card players (Nanovitsa, Bulgaria, 2018)
Vaklinovo, Bulgaria, 2018
Vaklinovo, Bulgaria, 2018
Пелин, Циганска сватба
Пелин, Циганска сватба
Kids from Kuzyovo (Kuzyovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Kids from Kuzyovo (Kuzyovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Salih from Krastava (Gorna Birkova, Bulgaria, 2018)
Salih from Krastava (Gorna Birkova, Bulgaria, 2018)
Rashko (Topolovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Rashko (Topolovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Kid in a gypsy camp(Madzhari, Bulgaria, 2018)
Kid in a gypsy camp(Madzhari, Bulgaria, 2018)
Dimitrina (Filipovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Dimitrina (Filipovo, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ozgur (Varbentsi, Bulgaria, 2018)
Ozgur (Varbentsi, Bulgaria, 2018)
Vana (Momchilovtsi, Bulgaria, 2008)
Vana (Momchilovtsi, Bulgaria, 2008)
Vasil (Chokmanovo, Bulgaria, 2020)
Vasil (Chokmanovo, Bulgaria, 2020)