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Bulgaria’s visual memory of the 20th century on a new platform

Photo: visualarchive.bg

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That is the reason why there is so much interest and emotion connected with black-and-white photographs. And even more so when they are photographs from a not-so-distant past that still needs to be analyzed.

Bulgarian Visual Archive https://www.visualarchive.bg/en is a new platform launched just a few days ago. It aims to do just that – to show, objectively, and using documents what Bulgaria was like during the 20th century, a century of historical upheaval.

What kind of life did Bulgarians lead after World War I, what did towns in the country look like as the Soviet troops entered the country?  What was life like during “socialism”, when people had to march in the streets carrying placards and chanting “Eternal friendship CPSU –BCP (Communist Party of the Soviet Union – Bulgarian Communist Party), what was it like to work in the fields in those years, or to go to school in socialist uniform? All kinds of photographs, illustrating the lives of thousands of people in Bulgaria, people who are no longer with us, are now available online.

The initiative belongs to a group of young people from the so-called “transition generation”, unburdened by historical clichés or prejudices. “This is a digital archive, formed on the basis of a community donating the photographs. They are freely available for download because the copyrights have been settled,” platform manager Tihomir Stoyanov says for Radio Bulgaria. The platform started out with around 1,000 photos, all of them with explanatory texts.

“The aim is to create a community of friends and to comment on and add content to the array of photographs, the idea being to help people understand what Bulgaria was like in the 20th century,” Tihomir says and adds:

“Most are amateur photographs taken during celebrations, outings, or illustrating everyday occurrences, and they will show the public different traditions, way of life, the historical events of the 20th century. We have pictures showing jubilee celebrations during socialism, manifestations, inauguration of monuments and buildings.” The founders of the platform are staking on the public’s interest in 20th century history. “In Bulgaria there is a nostalgic, even melancholic view of the past,” Tihomir says and adds:

“There are photographs that could trigger much debate – where they were taken, or what is happening in the picture, who the participants are etc.… The discussions should be interesting. As a matter of fact that is exactly what we are aiming for – to entertain but also to help people comprehend this 100-year fragment of our past.”

Снимки : www.visualarchive.bg

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