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Fulbright Bulgaria 2022

From September 2022 through June 2023, I spent a year in Smolyan Bulgaria as a Fulbright ETA Grantee. I spent the year living alone, as the sole American in the small mountain town where I was assigned to teach at the Ivan Vazov Foreign Language High School. The students already spoke great English, so I was told that I could teach anything I wanted. These images give a glimpse at what the end result was: an investigation and an invitation into individual and collective creativity. 

These were some of the best times of my life. I learned far more from these students than I could ever hope they'd learn from me... but we jumped into the mystery of it all together, especially in the images we created.

Take a look at an afternoon through Waterfall Canyon with some of my Photo Club students:

In the classroom...

Inside the classroom, I was interested in co-creating shoots with the students. In this project, students personalized their own fashion brand and voted on which image should represent the rhythm of their classroom. From there, they told me stories about their class, and formulated titles and catch phrases that captured their experience together. Each class has their own magazine cover to honor and remember their experience together.

Student Work:

The photo club students met with me weekly to dissect elements of design and camera settings. We held a weekly critique session and where they were invited to speak to how they were seeing these principles in each other's work. At the end of the year, we hosted a gallery night where they were able to display their hard work, and share a bit of their own perspective on how they view the world around them, and what it means to be Bulgarian.

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