Honorable Mention TOKYO-2017 Nature / Landscapes

Winter Rhodopean Lakes

  • Photographer
    Emil Rashkovski

A significant part of Bulgaria's water resources is located in the western Rhodope Mountains (a picturesque mountain range in the southern part of the country). There are a number of reservoirs and dams used for power generation, irrigation and tourism. Summer is the time when most people visit these places but I was curious to see how winter modifies the landscape and living conditions. Therefore, during two consecutive winters, I decided to travel and explore such places starting in 2016. I crossed “Batak”, “Beglik” and “Shiroka polyana” dams observing the nature and its transformations. These three artificial lakes are located 20km from each other at an altitude of 1100 to 1540 meters above sea level amid a forests of old pine trees. Winter is beautiful and harsh. The landscape caught my eye with its various layers, figures, shapes, cracks, snow-covered trees, spectacular lights... I was there enjoying every piece of that enchanting world. The atmospheric conditions were tough but life still followed its daily rhythm – the fishermen, telling me stories while drilling holes in the thick ice, a flock of birds drifting in the cold water or semi-wild horses left on their own and keen to take an apple from my hand. Human presence could be noticed almost everywhere, even in the long-ago abandoned hunting hut of the former Bulgarian king. With this series I want to provoke our thinking and discussion about how we, humans, should coexist and balance with an environment that is so beautiful, powerful and precious.