All photos by Maja Argakijeva

August 7, 2016, Kaya and Veda’s 5th Birthday, We are in Nessebar, Bulgaria and decide to celebrate their birthday in “Circus Balkanski,” the largest and oldest circus in Bulgaria. For years I have been going to the circus shows, passing by the fence every day, and watching the trailers parked outside. The nomadic in me longing for such a life, always peeked inside with childlike curiosity, imagining their life behind the scenes. I wondered if they would allow me to briefly enter their world with my camera and capture their way of life outside the stage.

That 5th birthday of Kaya and Veda, during the show’s intermission, I approached one lovely woman who worked at the circus and explained to her what I wanted. She then talked to the general manager, and by the end of the show I got an answer – tomorrow at 10 am to be there if I wanted to photograph the rehearsal.

I could hardly sleep that evening. Filled with excitement, I felt like I was flying towards the circus in the morning. The next 20 days (until their departure to another city,) I spent in the circus. All those wonderful people working there generously opened the doors of their trailers for me. I got new friends from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Portugal, Colombia …

I made a lot of photos that year. After returning to Skopje, I submitted several photos at the International Photo Exhibition “Photomedia 2016,” where I won first place in the single-photo category and an honorary mention for a photo-collection. After that, occupied with my daily job as a photographer, I was only occasionally thinking of those photos, wondering what could be done with them.

1st Prize at “Photomedia 2016” Skopje, Macedonia
Honorary mention for a photo-collection at “Photomedia 2016” Skopje, Macedonia
Honorary mention for a photo-collection at “Photomedia 2016” Skopje, Macedonia
Honorary mention for a photo-collection at “Photomedia 2016” Skopje, Macedonia

In June 2019, the excellent Macedonian photographer Dragi Nedelchevski calls and tells me that he’s been asked to be an editor of a book, a photography monograph dedicated to 12 Macedonian photographers. “I think you should be part of this collection,” he says. It feels good to me but disorganized as I am, I immediately panic over which photos to choose for the book. Dragi interrupts my thoughts and tells me that he knows exactly which photos he wants for the edition – the circus collection. What a relief I felt at that moment, happy that I would finally do something with those photos, or at least with some of them.

A few days ago, the book was promoted in the city of Tetovo. When I saw the editors’ choice of photographers I was even happier. Great artists with gorgeous photos, while the book is in excellent print, quality, everything! Big thanks to the editors and the publisher, but my biggest gratitude and love go to my wonderful friends, the employees at “Circus Balkanski”.

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Photos from the promotion of the book “12 Macedonian Photographers” in Tetovo, Macedonia. The book is published by ‘Templum.”