Ukrainian ethnophotographer of Bulgarian descent, photojournalist, editor-in-chief of the media Bessarabian Front, and communications director of the OKO International Ethnographic Film Festival.
Oleksandr is a son of Ukrainian Bessarabia. He was born on February 13, 1977, in the village of Vesela Dolyna, Bolhrad district, Odesa region.
From 1984 to 1994, he studied at the local Vesela Dolyna secondary school (now Vesela Dolyna Lyceum). During this time, he became interested in martial arts and began to develop his skills. Oleksandr had won the title of multiple champion and prize-winner of karate (full contact) tournaments and classic jiu-jitsu championships, 1 Dan. Among his sporting achievements was also a victory at the Championship of the International Martial Arts Festival in Riga in 1992.
In 1994, he moved to Odesa and entered the South Ukrainian National Pedagogical University named after K. D. Ushynsky, where he got a specialization in computer science and physics. In 2000, he received a master's degree in physics.
He became interested in ethnographic photography in 2017 when he first attended a folklore festival in the Republic of Bulgaria. It was then that he realized the importance of this genre of photography and the effect it had on viewers. He, therefore, decided to pursue this career path.
Oleksandr spent a considerable amount of time capturing the life and traditions of the Bessarabian region in photographs to preserve information about it for future generations.
His first photo exhibition was held in 2018 in Balchik, Bulgaria. Since then, Oleksandr has had more than 15 personal exhibitions in different cities in Ukraine and Bulgaria.
His photographs have been published in many newspapers and magazines. The most famous of them are:
- Total Escape (a luxury travel magazine).
- Warrior of Light (Kyiv-based magazine).
- The Day (weekly all-Ukrainian newspaper in Kyiv).
- Vernissage (Izmail-based magazine).
In his photographs, Alexander reflects the color and diversity of the people of Ukraine. In particular, this is manifested in his exhibitions like Bulgarian in Us, Bulgarian Spirit of Ukrainian Bessarabia, and Place of Power (based on the eponymous documentary).
In 2018, he embarked on the path of filmmaking. Oleksandr gained his first experience in production while working on the feature-length documentary about the village of Krynychne (Chushmelii), Place of Power (103 minutes), directed by Tetiana Stanieva. He was a consultant to the scriptwriter and director, a photographer for the project, and a third cameraman.
The same year, he joined the team of the Kyiv-based video studio PowerFilm Production.
Together with the well-known food expert Maria Kalenska, Oleksandr began conducting author's tours TheBluebirdTour in 2019. In addition, they became the official partners of the Roads of Wine and Taste of Ukrainian Bessarabia project. Their guests were well-known travel bloggers, businessmen, owners of production centers, board members, and top managers of large companies as well as famous chefs from different parts of Ukraine and Europe.
In 2021, he became the Communications Director of the OKO International Ethnographic Film Festival.
Also in 2021, he took part in the production of a documentary series of 12 episodes (26 minutes each) called Disappearing Villages (directed by Tetiana Stanieva) commissioned by the Ukrainian public broadcaster UA: Suspilne. In this project, he acted as a cameraman and photographer.
In spring 2022, after Russia's full-scale invasion, as a sign of support for Ukraine, Oleksandr's colleagues and friends together with the Bulgarian Roots Foundation printed and organized a joint photo exhibition by ethnographers Oleksandr Baron and Anna Senik. The exhibition This is Ukraine, and it is beautiful was held in the heart of the old city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. After the event, the photographers' works were presented to the Embassy of Ukraine in Bulgaria.
In July 2022, he became the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the anti-propaganda project Bessarabian Front, which targets the public in Bulgaria. It is a media that provides up-to-date news about the war in Ukraine in Bulgarian and disseminates it on its Telegram and Facebook pages to counter Russian propaganda and disinformation in Bulgaria.
In August 2022, as a cameraman and photographer, he joined Tetiana Stanieva's new project, a feature-length documentary film called She, dedicated to wives of servicemen. The filming process is still ongoing.
On January 27, 2023, he became a member of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.