Successful professional photographer with worldwide audience, as well as a former singer: this tall young man ticks all the boxes as the perfect new guest for my blog!
To start with, I was planning to write about him: to present who he is and what he does. The interview he gave me, though, is so informative and interesting that it will introduce Pavel Badzhakov to you in the best possible way.
His Passions: Photography and Music
– Tell me about your passions: photography and music. What is it that made you choose photography as a career?
– In the beginning there was light. Well, not quite. There was music. Or light. Or both of them at the same time. It was so long ago! Everything started almost as a joke. All I remember is that I borrowed that great camera from a friend for a few days… and that was such a blast! With each press of the button I felt more and more confident about the direction I was going in.
Music (singing) has always been part of who I am. I actually managed to reach to a wide audience, and my second project (a band called eGO) even got a national music award at the time. Everything amalgamated into this beautiful mixture of photography and music.
I was interested in beautiful photos back in my high school days. I had no idea why I was so drawn towards it. I was a fan of the Italian edition of MAX magazine. They used to publish photos of world famous fashion models, as well as adverts for those watches that I love so much, and so much more interesting stuff.
I was lucky that from the very start of my photography career I had the chance to know many of the beautiful women in my city: some of them through my music, others – through catwalks and beauty contests. I immediately decided to re-invest nearly all my earnings into new equipment, camera lenses, tonnes of slides and films.
– You mainly do fashion shoots – or am I under the wrong impression?
– Yes, generally what I do is fashion photography. You won’t really see me shooting landscapes or doing product photography. I like doing that, too, but work with models always takes priority. I have also done political campaigns, as well as national advertising campaigns for big corporations.
– For a young photographer (and not only!), you have achieved a lot. Is there anything you are particularly proud of?
– Professionally, I am linked to companies such as Sony, Pentax Ricoh, Playboy Magazine, Nokia, Fashion TV, Grayling, as well as some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world. I take pride in having such big corporate business names in my portfolio, as this demonstrates how much they trust me and how secure they feel about the final product of my work.
Over the past few years, I’ve been on the official judge panel for Jolla Fashion Film Festival and the International Fashion Film Awards in the US. I was also one of the organisers of San Paolo Fashion Film Festival.
Behind the Scenes Videos
Most of my photo sessions have been shot on video. These backstage and ‘making of’ videos have been broadcast on the French channel Fashion TV which is viewed over the world.
– Have you met anyone really interesting through work?
– Definitely. Through photography I’ve met many great musicians. I have done shoots for rock bands, jazz formations, concerts and music festivals. I was the official photographer for one particular jazz festival for a few years. My portfolio features names such as Billy Cobham, Nikolai Karageorgiev, Randy Bracker, Mark Small, Chico Freeman, Milcho Leviev, Kamelia Ben Naser, Mario Hossen, Olivier Gatto, Trilok Gurtu, Teodossi Spasov, Joel Mathias, Raul Midon, Dream Theater, and many many more. I have also done the CD covers for some jazz formations which, I am proud to say, turned out to be very successful.
My latest music photos were taken at the annual jazz festival in London – Ealing Jazz Festival.
This is where I had the chance to meet my most favourite jazz band at the moment, Preston Glasgow Lowe. They are absolutely amazing young jazz musicians, influenced by the music of Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, Frank Gambale and Jeff Beck.
– If you could meet one celebrity over a beer, who would that be?
– I would happily have a beer with Mike Patton. I’ve been a fan of Faith No More ever since I was a kid. He is a musical idiot-genius, one of a kind! I have been lucky enough to see them live and am very excited about their forthcoming new album and tour. I do hope they’ll do a gig in London! If they do, I will be in the first row – 100% guaranteed! What I have on my playlist at the moment is ‘King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime’.
– What are your plans for the future?
– The future… Hm… Everything is how it should be. This is my motto in life. I am trying to look at things from a positive perspective and to work towards my goals. My friends know me as a workaholic, and I am proud of doing something that’s not just a job. Photography is my life.
My next step would be cinema. I am planning to enrol on a few courses at London Metropolitan Film School. Shooting videos is a passion of mine. Over the past few years, I have been working on post-production, lighting and video shooting.
His Fashion Channel – World’s Biggest Channel for Fashion Photography
I have another very interesting project which is picking up speed surprisingly fast. I complied a random selection of fashion video clips, and this turned into world’s biggest channel for fashion photography: vimeo.com/badzhakov.
4-5 years ago I started collecting my favourite fashion clips in my channel. I did it for fun. At some point it got the attention of world famous advertising agencies who started sending me their videos to add to my channel. At the moment I have 16,000 clips there, and the number of my followers at present is just under 10,000. Everyday I receive letters from producers, directors, photographers, models, advertising and fashion agencies from all over the world with proposals about my channel. The energy I get from these people is unbelievable. We have discussions, exchange ideas. As they say, this channel is an inspiration. For many young photographers and operators who are just only entering the world of modern cinematography, this is like a flying start, like a textbook in photography and videography. This makes me incredibly proud and confident that I am helping them.
– As a man who is 190 cm, is being tall an advantage in your line of work?
– Being tall in fashion industry is definitely a positive thing. Being tall always gives me a better point of view, and sometimes it even makes people look up to me and respect me. Especially considering I work out five days a week. 🙂
At one of the fashion contests I happened to shoot together with 60-70 models at a time. It was rather strange to see so many women passing by who were even taller than me (wearing heels).
If I happen to see an interesting face, even in the street, I never hesitate. I always have my business cards on me, just in case. The majority of women don’t believe me to start with, but they become my models later. Some of them I keep in touch with for years.
– Tell me something interesting about your shooting sessions. Have you had any funny mishaps maybe?
– My work as a photographer has taken me to some unique locations. I did a shoot on the top of a block of flats once. To get to it, we had to jump through the floors. I’ve also been known for working on the roof of my studio at midnight. I have also taken photos in the rocky mountains.
There was that shoot of a model with two horses. There was a young girl helping us. The horse suddenly got frightened. She fell off and broke her arm. There was lots of adrenaline on that day.
Luckily, such moments are rare. What happens is mostly positive, full of emotions, music as a background, and hundreds of photos to evidence this.
I have had shooting sessions lasting 30-40 hours. Non stop. But that’s part of the job. A professional has got the right to remain a professional no matter what.
– You are the owner of a modelling agency, BAD Models Management, as well as Pavel Badzhakov Fashion Photography. Tell us about this.
– At the moment I am in the process of total re-organisation of my company. We are working on re-branding it completely, on a new logo, new website, and even wider presence in social media. I’ve found points I need to improve so that my company matches the current market needs. I am working round the clock for this. So, there is lots going on and it will all be made public soon!
I am in love with my bike. I wear goggles and a mask to protect me from diesel emissions. In the mornings I am like a giant bandit dressed in duckling’s yellow. And I can definitely notice people’s reaction in the streets!