One of my rules for Instagram is to follow as many photographers as possible, for it seems only logical to me that in a place where the image is king, photographers must be a good place to start. That and on the whole they do far fewer selfies and holiday pictures than your average user. So when I came across Tim Clinch's Instagram I was like a pig in shit. Having moved to Bulgaria, Tim documents his life through the lens, including breakfasts at the market, views from his balcony and of course his excellent dog 'Bun'.
I live in Bulgaria. In a small village in the foothills of the Balkans near the ancient capital city, Veliko Turnovo. Bulgaria is a small and beautiful country, mainly rural, and one where, in the villages, the ancient customs are still preserved and followed and the seasons still dominate life. It is a country of extremes. Temperatures in the high 30s in the summer and as low as -30c in a harsh winter. It is also a very colourful country. The traditional fabrics and hand-woven kilims are all a bright mixture of every colour under the sun.
I have been a professional photographer all my life and have spent many years working in the world of interiors photography. I have shot for many interiors magazines worldwide and photographed many amazing hotels and guest houses from Morecambe to Miami. In short, I’m a lucky man, travelling the world shooting beautiful locations and meeting so many fascinating people.
When we bought the little house in Bulgaria which I now call home I was very aware of how I was changing. All the wonderful places I was shooting were all, in my eyes, beginning to be burdened with what a friend aptly described as ‘the tyranny of good taste’.
All that beige. All those earnest discussions with homeowners and designers about paint colours with ludicrous names like ‘Mouses Bum’ or ‘Dead Salmon’… All those chairs beautifully, but slightly tediously, upholstered with antique French linen.
I was as much to blame as anyone. My collections of battered French antiques, my slightly broken empty frames on my walls, my piles and piles of the dreaded ‘antique French Linen’.
The house in Bulgaria was…cheery. The walls were white and the paintwork was green. It was little, had a wonderful view of the village and I loved it. It was like a glorified Wendy House.
It didn’t take me long to realise that all my Frenchy good taste simply wasn’t going to fit in and that I would have to react to what we had. Like I say, it was green and white. All my ever so arty blue and white stuff was never going to work here. So it had to go. Sold the lot and, when finally the decision to move here full time was taken (until when it had been merely a holiday home) we started all over again.
And what fun we had. OBVIOUSLY, the colour to go best with the green and white was red so off we went! We scoured the flea markets and antique shops of the region determined to make sure the house remained Bulgarian. We bought kilims for the (renovated) barn and collected as many paintings of the region as we could.
So now I find myself living in what can best be described as a cross between a Romany caravan and Granny’s front room, happily pottering around and enjoying colour in a way that a few years back I never would have thought possible.
The three things that dominate my life these days are, my view across the village which I awake to every day, my adorable rescue dog Bunny (left on our doorstep several years ago and the love of my life) and…green!
Huge 'Thank You' to Tim for this wonderful feature, Tim currently teaches & mentors, for more information go to @twophotographers2020. He does it with his good friend and equally brilliant interiors photographer Joanna MacLennan.