Freedom here-and-now

Photobook "Freedom here-and-now"
Viktor Paskov, writer (1949-2009) "For the free people it’s not just life that has meaning, but also the reasons to live."Dimitar Stoyanovich, editor-in-chief of L’Europeo magazine, screenwriter, "Freedom is the first of my hundreds of dependencies." Lachezar Avramov, director, "There is nothing more important than freedom! Than freedom and human rights! I dream of a world in which there will be...Vassil Varbanov, radio personality, "Freedom is the F word!" Anna Jovanovic, journalist, "Sloboda (freedom in Serbian) is not equal to Slobodan Milosevic!" Georgi Gospodinov, writer, "Freedom is a special kind of loneliness. Few are ready... "Professor Georgi Lozanov, philosopher, "A person is not born free. He has to be alone, helped only by the songs of the birds. "Yavor Gardev, director, "Freedom is choosing what obsesses you by yourself." Lyuben Dilov Jr., writer and journalist, "Freedom is a girl from my neighborhood. Lozenets, 1981. I have wonderful memories from her and thanks to herVirginia Zaharieva, psychotherapist, writer, "Presence is freedom!"Rashko Mladenov, actor, "Freedom is the keyboard of a piano!" Lyuboslava Ruseva, journalist, "While we laugh, we are free!" Photobook "Freedom here-and-now" -two-page spreadPhotobook "Freedom here-and-now" -two-page spreadPhotobook "Freedom here-and-now"

Photobook  “Freedom here-and-now”

Gelatin silver prints, liquid emulsion, pencil, paper 640 g., gelatin silver film on plate, acryl, plywood, linen cloth, 59,4 х 42 x 8 cm


A collaboration with Dimitar Stoyanovich

Selected pages


The photobook “Freedom here-and-now” is the bible of a collaborative project by Lilyana Karadjova and Dimitar Stoyanovich. Their artwork is motivated by the deficit in understanding of freedom among the broader Bulgarian public. The living existential and original sense of Freedom Here-and-Now has been lost in the scale of the notion, banalized in economic and legal texts, and degraded in political populism. Freedom has become and abstract and rigid word, devoid of explicit meaning, distant from the daily issues of the ordinary person. A key factor that defines this situation is the limited understanding of freedom, which exists as a residual concept from the 19th and 20th centuries. This is the ideal of the Bulgarian revival toward collective freedom from Ottoman rule, continued through the Communist regime as a quest for freedom from ideological repression. There is a lack of intuition and understanding of the personal and positive manifestations of freedom in the broad public attitudes. The phrase “Here and Now” has degraded in the entertainment industry, which is why Stoyanovich and Karadjova express the existential vertex of the human reality in a philosophical manner – here and now.


Dimitar Stoyanovich is a historian, playwright, Editor-in-Chief of L’Europeo Magazine since 2013, and Lilyana Karadjova is a photographer, Doctor of Philosophy in Art History, lecturer at the National Academy of Artsand the New Bulgarian University and a long-standing author for L’Europeo.


The photographic installation and photobook Freedom Here-and-Now present mugshots and original texts by thirty Bulgarian intellectuals and public figures, authors close to the L'Europeo magazine. The portraits were taken with a medium-format camera on a black and white negative film 120 inspired by the popular mugshots of the 1960s and 1970s, a period that was marked by the strong resonance of social messages in the public space.

The square of the medium format and frame borders serve as a grid that closes the intellectuals in their own images, from which they release themselves by signing the portraits and taking over the position of the author and photographer. Instead of using a signature, the authors identify themselves with a text devoted to their personal freedom here-and-now. Co-authors Lilyana Karadjova and Dimitar Stoyanovich have deliberately included photos with similar elements that mark the freedom in photography as coming with human error: a broken film, an accentuated, double-exposed shot, four portraits from a not fully developed film due to "squeezed air" in a full dose and a strange graying texture on the back of the polyester tape, a defect of unclear origins. Human error is an artistically developed visual code of freedom.


The photographic book "Freedom Here-and-Now" is a unique piece of art sized 59x42x8 cm, with copies of the portraits with a manually applied silver-gelatin emulsion on handmade paper, again signed by the authors. At every level of its creation, the photobook is filled with unpredictable and invisible tremors of the hand, human imperfection and human mistakes. With the turning of every page, a photographically structured black square breaks down into a negative and positive under which the signatures are seen containing freedom here-and-now.