Tihomir Trichkov’s photos captivate, transport and mesmerize
Story by LIESEL SCHMIDT
According to Tihomir Trichkov, “one doesn’t need a lot of talent to enjoy photography. It’s about what you have to say. Skills can be achieved and mastered with practice—lots of it—like everything else. Having drive is more important. And having ideas. And fun. You have to enjoy it, anticipate it, dream of it, get goose bumps from it.”
When Trichkov won the green card lottery in 2008, he left his home country of Bulgaria to move to the U.S. and pursue the possibilities that were open to him in this new place known for opportunity. After a year in New York, followed by a few months in Hawaii, Trichkov found himself in Highlands, North Carolina, in 2009.
Clearly, he has an adventurous spirit, an intrepid desire to seek out new experiences and explore all that life has to offer, and that quality has served him well in honing his skills as a photographer.
When Trichkov purchased his first camera—a Sony Digital—almost 20 years ago, he may not have had the intention of becoming a professional, but time, practice and a growing passion made him just that. More than this, however, he became an artist. “It seemed to me more interesting to get lost in a place, looking for ways to create something cool and interesting, than doing anything else,” he says. “My biggest inspirations were urban scenes and street photography, always looking for unexpected angles, shadows and highlights.”
It all changed for Trichkov, however, when he started traveling and volunteering in countries across South America, Africa and Asia over a decade ago. “That’s when my style began shifting into documentary,” he says. “I was always looking for the story. And, of course, nature, spending time in numerous national parks, learning about animals and wildlife. Then my style took another direction and evolved completely. It still evolves. It always will.”
As Trichkov and his style continue to evolve, his portfolio grows as well, and that body of work has found a home in Trichkov’s own studio space, HOP Gallery, on Main Street in Highlands. “I wanted to take people on a dream, on a visual trip around the world, to countries they have always wanted to experience,” he says. “Or to places they have been many years ago. I wanted kids to stare with eyes wide open and fall in love with animals, nature and adventures. Opening a studio was not only about showing pictures, but also about telling the stories behind the pictures, which are sometimes even more interesting.”
As for the photos Trichkov has already taken, he doesn’t claim a favorite. “My favorite is the next one,” he contends. “This way, I keep myself inspired.”
There are, however, images that have been influential in his life as an artist, recognized and published by National Geographic, The Smithsonian Institution and the Sony World Photography Awards. “The reason for participating in their photography competitions was curiosity,” Trichkov says. “I had to know where I stood. That’s how I know my style is relevant and my work is good, interesting and worth doing. Having a photograph chosen from tens of thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands, tells me I am on the right path.”
For Trichkov, being on the “right path” also means being limitless in his desire for experience—and it shows in the breathtaking, vibrant quality of the photos he creates. What he sees through the lens of his camera captivates, transports and mesmerizes. “Traveling is a big part of my life now,” he explains. “Not just because of the pictures I will take, but also because of the new things I will see and learn, the new friends I will make, the new adventures I will experience, the new cultures I will touch. On the road, I have learned so much, a lot more than in school and university, and I have met people who have changed me forever. My best and worst memories are from travels, but that’s how one grows. Collecting experiences and memories, making mistakes, making right and wrong decisions, learning. The key is to keep going.
“I do not have a favorite country, nor do I count how many countries I have been to,” he adds. “I think every country has something unique and interesting, and I cannot wait to see it. I also believe every country deserves a traveler who visits with an open mind and without any prejudices. The travelers who allow themselves to form their own opinions based upon their actual experience are like blank canvases that may well turn into masterpieces. In my view, this is the best way to travel.”
Trichkov’s openness shows in his work—in those amazing images he captures as though time and space have stopped simply for him, for that split-second between breath and heartbeat as the shutter of his camera closes around it. “For me, taking a picture is a way to remember a moment and stay in it,” he says. “Or to go back to it when you feel like it, when you need it. A photograph stops time and preserves a moment that may never replicate itself. That is unique. That’s why I love it so much.”
Trichkov’s photography can be found online at houseofpicsnc.com or at HOP Gallery in Highlands.