My name is Viara and I am a family, birth, and wedding photographer based in Kingston, Ontario.
I wanted to be many things, growing up, but photographer was not one of them. The idea snuck up on me sometime between 2003 and 2014. My love for the study of families turned from scientific and restrained to photographic and free.
I was born in Bulgaria, and have lived in the UK, Saskatchewan, Toronto, and the Netherlands.
I have a PhD in parenting (genetics & psychology). I analyzed hundreds of mothers interacting with their babies. This taught me to notice tiny changes in expression, small movements, and complex family dynamics at the moment-to-moment level, skills which would become important in my family documentary photography practice. This also taught me that no two families are the same.
When I moved to the Netherlands for post-doctoral work in 2012, I became serious about photography. I studied street photography and joined whatever groups I could, had my work critiqued by photographers I respected, and started seeing my photographs as more than a snapshot of a moment in time.
I loved studying families, didn't want to reduce them to bits of data in spreadsheets, thereby erasing their differences. I wanted to shine a light on all those things which made families unique. Photography gave me a way to do that.
I now live on a small acreage in Bath, ON, with my husband, three children, and a menagerie of animals. My days are spent with the crow of roosters out the window, while I edit photographs from the families that allow me a glimpse into their lives.
One of my favourite things to capture is how children live completely FULLY immersed in experiences. You can take them anywhere, and they will just be totally and 100% into what is happening. I think we all love that about childhood, and is one of the things we long for when we become adults.
What I offer
I photograph families and all sorts of events in their lives – from the birth of a child, to a stroll in the park. I’m inspired by documentary photography to reveal the truth of our everyday lives, but I’m also a sucker for the iconic and surreal. My photography is a blend of both.
I want to create a visceral feeling of what it is like to have been in that moment. I constantly push to explore new angles, new perspectives, and give clients a photo-gallery of their lives unlike any previous gallery of mine.
Included in every single package are all the high res edited digital images, which you can print or share with friends and family. The photographs are different. I strive to always get the best shot, the best angle, the most unique view.
I am Kingston-based, but serve all of Southern Ontario & am happy to travel within Canada.
Why you should hire me
- I have a good eye, I work hard, and I'm never satisfied with my work, which is to say that I'm constantly trying to improve it by studying the work of those I respect in the field
- I am good at connecting with people and making them comfortable (check out some client reviews)
- I have photographed over fifty families in the last two years
- Since 2015, I have been photographing children at Bayside Montessori School, as part of my 'Year in the Life: School Edition" series.
- I have photographed hundreds of children in schools, families, and through my work with non-profit organizations
- I am resident photographer for Loving Spoonful, a non-profit organization in Kingston that does incredible things for the community's food and educational needs
- In 2015, I won 2nd place at the Ian Walsh Award, the first photography competition I'd ever entered
I photograph families of all kinds, big or small. I also photograph weddings, couples, and all parts of life, from birth to retirement and beyond. During documentary photography sessions and weddings, I do not pose or direct people. This natural approach results in photographs which are unique to your occasion, not clones of someone else's. Of course, there is always time to pause and capture a few group shots and individual portraits. After all, these photographs are for you, and that means you have all the say.
I aim to bring authentic documentary photography and other creative photography initiatives to Kingston, both to clients and to communities.
Some of the community initiatives I have recently begun are:
- The 'No-Bullshit Kickass Entrepreneurs' project: shining a photographic spotlight on strong Kingston & area entrepreneurs. Here are some of the people I've met and photographed:
- Logan of the Elm Cafe (read post)
- Andrew of The Foundry Tattoo (read post)
- Megan of Patchwork Gardens (read post)
- Paula Sara of Bark'n up the Green Tree & Earth Paw (read post)
- Stephanie Newman of the Cheesecakery Bakery (read post)
- Lisa Morrissey of Dragonfly Handmade (read post)
- Willa Murray of Willa Murray Design (read post)
- Audrey Brown of CocoaBistro (blog coming up!)
- The 'Quirky Love Photography Collective': a collaborative initiative with my friend & photographer Liz Cooper, with the aim to photograph real love on the streets of Kingston & beyond
Some of the paid client projects are:
I travel the Toronto - Ottawa - Kingston circuit up to twice a month and I've photographed families in Scotland and the Netherlands in the past. I'd like to visit as many places as I can in this short life.
If you want to hire me outside of Ontario, contact me to get a custom quote on how much it would cost to photograph you and your family in the place you live and love.