Plamena Emilova Mileva
I was born on the coast of the Black Sea in Bulgaria’s largest seacoast – Varna. Over time, as I grew older, I came to desire, more than almost anything else, to convey my emotions and yearnings through photography. To me, photography is special. It is an art that allows me to create figures and tell stories, just as a painter uses canvas. In 2001 I graduated from the Department of Arts at the Veliko Tarnovo University “St. Cyril and Methodius.” Photography became the ideal medium through which I could explore beauty in all its dimensions.
I began to use live models underwater in order to “paint” seascapes inspired by life and the natural world. I believe man is the highest most complex creation, and I find it both challenging and exciting to seek and exhibit his perfection through photography. Light creates shadows in water just as it creates shadow in a landscape painting; the difference being that in the water the figure falls playfully into zero-gravity, connecting harmoniously to the underwater world. With this connection there is a primordial mysticism; a magic that resonates with that part of my inner-consciousness seeking magic and esoteric fancy. These fairy-tale plots are my own attempt to escape reality; to access some distant, parallel world, which in turn helps me sustain my creative spirit.
Many of my photos are taken via apnea (the holding of one’s breath) in the Black Sea of Bulgaria and the Aegean Sea in Greece and Turkey. In January 2014 right before a diving excursion in Egypt, I became diver certified, to be followed later by an advanced diving degree in Greece. That same year, for the Eilat Red Sea underwater photography competition in Israel, I worked with the underwater model Ellie Biel. These sessions proved to be a wonderful stepping-stone along the path to becoming a professional underwater photographer.
My shoot “Cosmic Jellyfish”, of this competition, turned out to be one of the most complicated stagings I have ever done. The use of “ice light” in costume (as well as yellow, blue, and red lights) involved no small degree of intricacy. This is just one example in which practice and outcome justify the following thesis: with determination and hard work anything is possible, as long as one has a clear vision of where one is going.
2015 will remain an especially important, almost emblematic year for me. In April I left for Tenerife, the Canary Islands, where after two months I met the Spaniard Jessica Avellaneda Aristi. With Jess, so artistic and gracious, I realized my best underwater series in a collection of fascinating settings. We worked in majestic caves and in wrecks, surrounded by stingrays, turtles and other beautiful creatures. The biggest challenge turned out to be arranging the model in a wedding gown and having her pose, kneeling as if in prayer, in front of a statue of the Virgen del Carmen, which sits submerged thirty-three meters below the surface.
I entered 2016 with a series of contest awards, promising offers, and ambitious plans. I returned to my beloved Bulgaria and continue to work and convey my passion for underwater photography and allowing others to learn from me and experience the beauty of the underwater world.
2008, award winning for debut at the Varna International Photographic Saloon
May 2009 in the contest “All for the Sea” awarded with the special prize of Photosyntesis, Varna, Bulgaria
2009, during The Photovacation, Primorsko, Bulgaria, third prize in the Master slide contest
June 2011, Competition organized by Diving BG, award for the most artistic underwater photograph.
2013, International photographic salon Montenegro, Section monochrome photography, honourable mention for the picture “Underwater kingdom”.
2013, International Photographic Salon, Varna, Bulgaria, honourable mention for the underwater image “Ecstasy”
December 2013, First place in the prestigious competition Ocean Art Contest, Fashion & Divers category
May 2014, Second place in the Scubacam festival, category Photography of Model
2014 September 7-13, Eilat Red Sea World Underwater Photography Competition
-Third place in the category Fish and Fashion
-Award of the Mayor of Eilat + cover next catalog.
2015 gold medal winner in the anual awards of underwaterphotography.com, section fashion
2015 third place in the contest UW Maraton, Zagreb, Croatia – section Ambient with or without model, DSLR camera, photography “Impression in red”
- runner up, Creativity/ Fashion category, DSLR camera
2015, 2nd Underwater photography Contest Without Borders, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
First place DSLR White angle, photography “A love encounter”
Second place DSLR Macro, photography “Green way”
2015, PSA Silver in 8th INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SALON VARNA, photography “Stingray Attack”
2015, 3rd prize in MARMARA FESTIVAL, BLACK & WHITE category
2016 Blu Cobalto Academi underwater contest
- second place with photography “Lost Galaxies“
- best of the show with photograph ”Fusion“
2016 bronze medal winner in the anual awards of underwaterphotography.com, Fashion category
2016 first place in the contest Underwater Photo Marathon, Zagreb, Croatia, Fashion category with DSLR camera
2016 second place in Mare Nordest contest, Italy, Diver/Fashion category
2016 PSA Gold in 2nd International salon of print and digital art photography Varna, photography “The Last dance”
2016, FIAP Bronze in 9th INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SALON VARNA, photography “I can Fly” Nature category
GPU Honorable mention, photography “The cage” Open Color category
FIAP Honorable mention, photography “Fusion” Monochrome category