Being a Bulgarian immigrant in Western Europe, I know how important the welcoming and friendly attitude of the local people is for the newcomers. How great my indignation was when Bulgaria, my home country, the place of origin for two million emigrants, tolerated nationalist groups to hunt down Muslim refugees who were illegally crossing E.U.’s external border with Turkey.

The articles in the Western media informing about the activities of the Bulgarian nationalists raised a lot of questions for me. I am trying to express these with the present project: what provokes one’s fear of foreigners; what is the life and history of the local population who live near the border, where different political interests intersect; what is the “Bulgarian” identity exactly made up of; how does the border region reflect what is happening across Europe; is there a "beautiful" nationalism that would help a vanishing nation preserve itself (Bulgaria is said to be the fastest disappearing nation in the world); and, finally, what connects us as people?

The title of the book is borrowed from an inscription from a small chapel in the border area, built in honor of St. Marina: “In faith is power”. I have changed it to “In belief is power” in order to address the relationship of belief not only with religion, but also with different political and economic systems, as well as the consequences of these relationships.

In the Netherlands the book was nominated for the Unseen Dummy Award 2018, it was in the long list of the Dutch Photobook Award and presented at PhotoQ Bookshop and Prospects & Concepts as part of Art Rotterdam. In the beginning of 2019, Christine Baart introduced 'In belief is power' on the pages of the Dutch newspaper Trouw: Letter&Geest . Merel Bem, Arno Haijtema en Mark Moorman selected ‘In Belief Is Power' as one of the ten most beautiful Dutch photo books of 2019 for the Dutch newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’.

By invitation of the Bulgarian platform for photography books PUK,  ‘In Belief Is Power’ was presented in a conversation with the curator Nadezhda Pavlova in Struktura Gallery in Sofia (Bulgaria). The Bulgarian national television and radio, Radio VOX and the newspaper Dnevnik broadcasted interviews and published a text about the project. At the end of 2018 ‘In Belief Is Power’ was part of a group exhibition in Contemporary Space (Varna, Bulgaria) and in September 2019 took place the solo exhibition of the project at the Synthesis Gallery (Sofia).

‘In Belief Is Power’ also won the Full Contact 2018 Award at SCAN Tarragona Festival in Spain, and it has been nominated for the PHE19 Best Photography Book of the Year Award (Spain), Photobook Showcase in Singapore and Foto Wien Photobook Award (Austria); selected by the Calvert Journal for one of the eight best photo books of 2019. At the beginning of 2019, the project was shown in a solo exhibition at EEP Berlin’s Gallery Space.

Edition of 500
Size: 130 mm x 195 mm
Pages: 176
Paper: 300g Original Guardsman Red, 140g cyclus offset
Offset printing
Thread sewn binding

Concept, photography and edit: Hristina Tasheva
Design: Velina Stoykova, Poststudio
Translation from Bulgarian: Zornitsa Hristova, Vesselin Petrov
Mentorship: Martine Stig

Special thanks to Edwin Stolk, Ivelina Ivanova (director of Historical Museum in Malko Tyrnovo) and the wonderful people of Strandzha Mountain

English/Bulgarian, 2019

Price: €25 (excl. shipping)

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The publication has been made possible with financial support from the Mondriaan Fund

'In Belief Is Power' selected by Merel Bem, Arno Haijtema en Mark Moorman as one of the ten most beautiful Dutch photo books of 2019 for the Dutch newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’

Presentation of the book 'In belief is power' in the Dutch newspaper Trouw: Letter&Geest, text by Christine Baart

Presentation of the book In Belief is Power in conversation with the curator Nadezhda Pavlova and the designer Velina Stoykova by invitation of ПУК! (Bulgarian photobook platform) at Struktura Gallery in Sofia (Bulgaria)

(c) all photographs ПУК!

In Belief is Power won Full Contact 2018 Award part of SCAN Tarragona Festival in Spain

Presentation of the book In Belief is Power in conversation with Edie Peters, PhotoQ Bookshop, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Selected by Liza Premiyak and The Calvert Journal for one of the eight best photo books of 2019
In Belief is Power by Sabrina Mandanici, (Photobooks)
Part of the Shared artists' panel at Printing Plant Art Book Fair (Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam) from 23 November until 24 November 2019
Part of the Rencontres d’Arles, the 2019 Book Awards Exhibition from 1 July until 22 September
In Belief is Power is at the long list of the Dutch Photobook Award and it will be exhibited in the Gele Loods at FotoFestival Naarden in the Netherlands from 25th of May until 30st of June
The shortlisted books of Unseen Dummy Award will be displayed at Belfast Photo Festival from the 9th of June until 30th of June!! Opening: 2pm, Sunday 9 June, Venue: Framewerk
Part of the exhibition Prospects & Concepts at Art Rotterdam in Van Nellefabriek (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
Part of the exhibition GO - WENT - GONE in Contemporary Space (Varna, Bulgaria) from Dec 21 (2018) till Jan 19 (2019)
Добре е хората по-често да поставят под съмнение това, в което вярват, Interview on the book In Belief is Power with Mariana Gancheva and Nadezhda Pavlova, Време и половина, Hristo Botev, Bulgarian National Radio - Sofia, Bulgaria, 2018
In Belief is Power by Colin Pantall,
The dummy of the book part of Photobook Showcase at Singapore International Photography Festival from 5 to 30 of September, National Design Centre, Gallery I and from 5 to 30 October at National Library Building, Open Plaza in Singapore