Lubo Sergeev Reimagines the Hajduks in a Conceptual Portrait Series

All images by Lubo Sergeev. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Conceptual photography comes with many sub-genres, with conceptual portraits among the most popular — and certainly one of our favorites. Today, we look at a beautiful project that should easily impress and give ideas to aspiring and practicing conceptual portraitists. Bulgarian photographer and digital artist Lubo Sergeev may specialize in advertising photography, commercial image production, and high-end photo manipulation, but he also has a number of projects that are inspired by and rooted in history and art.

In his series about the Hajduks, the Sofia-based photographer uses his taste for stunning aesthetic and detailed imagery to bring to light the Balkan freedom fighters. For those of us who aren’t familiar with them, Sergeev has an interesting introduction for us:

“The hajduk is a type of peasant irregular infantry found in Central and Southeast Europe from the early 17th to mid 19th centuries. They have reputations ranging from bandits to freedom fighters depending on time, place, and their enemies.

“In Balkan folkloric tradition, the hajduk (hajduci or haiduci in the plural) is a romanticized hero figure who steals from, and leads his fighters into battle against, the Ottoman Empire authorities. They are somewhat comparable to the English legend of Robin Hood and his merry men, who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, while defying seemingly unjust laws and authority.”

He recreates the freedom fighters with every bit of detail to help us see what they were like — from the various styles of period clothes, the weapons, and all other personal artifacts. He also put them against a variety of some pretty dramatic settings that heighten the stories set many centuries past. The most stunning quality of all is how everything comes together almost like paintings commissioned for heroes, royalty, and warriors of long ago.

Check out Lubo Sergeev’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of his conceptual and commercial work.