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Lotte Michailova: The Comeback

Shy Intimacy

Photographers are here to remind us of who we were before we became who we are. This is the message of the most prestigious photography festival in the world – that in Arles, France. This is the context in which we turn to one of the outstanding names in Bulgarian photography – Lotte Michailova.

The themes in her work are related to women, motherhood, and nature, and are rendered with photographic virtuosity in her signature black-and-white aesthetic. “Lotte Michailova doesn’t narrate or explain, her photographs are inspired by a rich palette of emotions,” Georgi Lozanov writes about the photographer.
“These photographs are not a longing for what is lost, but a diary of what is present. Faces, environments, actions, trees, mist, landscapes and moments of wonder, framing of movement, observation from depth. Recording the indomitable diversity of life in the form of a quiet visual confession without superfluous words,” adds Stefan Ivanov.


The selection of photographs displayed in the exhibition Lotte Michailova: THE COMEBACK highlights the photographer’s delicate attention to detail, shows a woman’s sensitivity to human intervention in nature, and follows the traces we leave in the world around us.

Near Slaveyno, Rodopi Mountains

The exhibition is on view at the Sofia City Art Gallery from 4 April to 14 May 2023. During this period, a bilingual (Bulgarian/English) catalogue containing photographs by Lotte Michailova, texts by Georgi Lozanov and Stefan Ivanov, a special interview with her son Mihail Atanasov and a detailed biography of Michailova, will also be presented. The official presentation of the catalogue will take place on 12 April at 18:30 at the Sofia City Art Gallery. A lecture and discussion led by Plamen Petrov will be held at the same place and time on 19 April.

Near Sozopol

Lotte Michailova was born on 27 November 1925 in Pernik. She worked as a photographer in the photo department of Sofia Municipality, at the Bulgarian Cinematography State Corporation, and the Boyana Feature Film Studios. She was a photographer and photo editor at the Fine Art Photography Section of the Sofia Press Agency’s Interfoto Department.


At the Second National Exhibition of Fine Art Photography in 1963, her photograph “Nude” caused a clash between the innovators and the conservative jury, which initially rejected the work. However, the photograph was admitted and awarded a gold medal. In addition to it, Lotte Michailova won more than forty awards at national and international photo exhibitions, including two major prizes at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 1964. At the end of the 1990s, she moved to Germany, where she remained active in photography until her death in 2014.


4 April – 14 May 2023
Opening: 4 April, 18:30
Sofia City Art Gallery
1 Gen. Gurko St.

Presentation of the exhibition catalogue: 12 April (Wednesday), 18:30
Lecture and discussion: 19 April (Wednesday), 18:30

This project is implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and is included in the programme of the 10th FotoFabrika Festival, part of the Calendar of Cultural Events of Sofia Municipality for 2023.