Journalists in a radio station do not know the exact number of their listeners, do not feel their attention and reactions, do not hear the echo of their words. The airwaves of objective journalism are a platform for responsibility in public speaking, drawing on all the subtleties of diplomacy, in order to promote opinions and positions, expert analyses, rare viewpoints, and broad discussions.
‘On Air’ is a Darik Radio group portrait of its guests in front of the studio microphone. It is the second part of the 2019 visual project, GoSTOLyubiv [GuestLoving], and another exhibition of the station, a declared patron of the arts. The black-and-white portrait photographs, shot between the beginning of 2019 and March 2022, create a parallel visual history of the radio station.
The exhibition bears the hallmarks of a documentary chronicle—impartiality and objectivity. It is a temporal memory achieved through a selection of 100 black-and-white photographic portraits of presidents, prime ministers, artists, painters, financiers, journalists, writers, public figures… Displayed together, they also form a short encyclopaedia: a Who’s Who in the public domain.
Within the grades between black and white, with contrasting light, the photographs were shot in the tradition of the classic portrait: minimally, with an emphasis on the subject’s state at that moment. Lacking external details and preparation, they are focused on capturing transient emotions. Beyond words, these portraits visualise Darik Radio’s cause: airtime for ideas, airtime for news, airtime for established or emerging talents.
About the photographer: Konstantin Valkov is Darik Radio’s Programme Director. Since 2018, he has been recording the visual series, ‘GoSTOLyubiv’, photographing Darik’s guests, and amassing over 200 portraits. Previously, Konstantin Valkov worked for Retro Radio and the Egoist magazine, and has contributed articles to many Bulgarian and foreign newspapers and magazines.
About the curator: Marieta Tsenova is an independent curator. She has worked as an art director and stylist for the Egoist magazine, as well as for numerous publications and projects in Europe. She is also a designer of theatrical costumes, books, and other printed publications. Along with Konstantin Valkov and the Darik team, she works on ‘Dolce far Niente’, a biannual printed publication.