Eugenia Maximova was born in Ruse, Bulgaria. She graduated from The University of Vienna, reading journalism and communication science. Eugenia Maximova is particularly interested in visual anthropology. Her journalistic background influences many of her projects, and although they often differ from the traditional concept of ‘photojournalism’, the goal of her images is to bring to light the lives of others and to communicate socio-political models and tendencies, examining their consequences for society and culture. Currently Eugenia works as a freelance Photographer. Her clients include: GEO, National Geographic, Die Zeit, Moscow News, The Guardian and many more. Eugenia’s work is represented by The Anzenberger Gallery/ Agency.
“Kitsch and the human propensity for exaggerating have always fascinated me,” says Eugenia Maximova, who was born behind the Iron curtain, in the Bulgarian city of ruse on the banks of the river Danube. “Many of my childhood memories relate to kitsch. It was on open display in almost every household growing up – crystal and ceramic dinner sets, vases and figurines, hard-to-acquire foreign objects, plastic fruit and flowers. They were showcased behind glass and were the pride of the house.”
But it was only when she started working on the design for Kitchen Stories From the Balkans – her self- published photobook, based on her much- published series of modest interiors – that she began to think about how to include “some of those incredible plastic tablecloth patterns so beloved in these latitudes”. Then came the discovery that the garish tablecloths have been manufactured in her hometown for many years; all the serendipity she needed to forge a new project, Associated Nostalgia.
“Kitsch is sometimes difficult to digest, but for many it is also unpretentious and tasteful,” states the journalism graduate, who picked up a camera eight years ago after the sudden death of her mother, a noted painter, and who regards her work as something of an antidote to the usual stories about the region, focusing on conflict. “Kitsch doesn’t require lots of preparation, rethinking or consideration. In fact, it barely requires any thinking at all. Kitsch is melodramatic, sentimental and folksy, but it also entertains. The kitsch culture of today flourishes across all areas of life.” But, she insists, the work remains a form of social observation and commentary.
“The scarcity of goods during communism created a culture of showing off, in which people behave ostentatiously. Kitsch was also widely used as political propaganda during that period. Art’s sole raison d’etre was to bolster a dictatorial regime and glorify its leaders.”