Balkans Update: Kosovo to Bosnia

So, I was not in Perpignan last week like I said and planned to be. A story that I have been working on since April about the displacement of significant and entrenched Roma settlements here in Belgrade hit its climax last Monday and I decided to stay here to photograph. I look forward to sharing part of this important story soon.
But first I wanted to share some new images that I mentioned a few weeks ago from my Kosovo New Born project, which I began in 2007.
Inside the Stan Trg mine, part of the Trepca complex in Mitrovica, Kosovo. Once employing up to 300,000 people, the operation is on a skeleton crew after the war struggling to remain viable.
I returned to the youngest country in the world again in early August to get further into the periphery of issues and locations that are at the heart of Kosovo’s political and economic stability and viability. While it was a difficult trip, with some closed doors and unproductive scheduling, I am pleased that many pictures are contributing new visions and perspectives on the broader sentiments I am hoping to capture with this project.

The next step for me is to (frighteningly enough) prepare a book dummy for this admittedly unfinished body of work. I started my degree at the University of Washington six years ago and I’ve decided that it is high time to finally graduate. So I endeavor to finish my last requirement: a thesis. As a multidisciplinary exercise for my degree in the Comparative History of Ideas program I am attempting to create a historical, documentary and scholarly approach to Kosovo in the form of a more permanent contemporary photographic document. Hence my interest in Peter van Agtmael’s new book 2nd Tour, Hope I don’t Die, which I think works on much the same level. As this project comes together I’ll have more to share, though I’m sure it will take more time than I’ve budgeted in my head.
Along the banks of the Ibar River in the divided city of Mitrovica, Kosovo.
Also in Balkan news, I’ve seen (and have been sent) a number of increasingly alarmist articles about the dire state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In my opinion, and that of many smart colleagues here, while it is not a happy or stable place Bosnia isn’t about to explode either. As a western writer friend here opined, this is as much a cry for relevance by Balkan commentators in this short-attention span world as anything else (and as someone with interest in keeping eyes on the important stories here, I’m not exactly against this). So that said, the continuing slow decline of Bosnia’s political foundations is worth paying attention to. I’m continuing to photograph some of these ideas with my project This Time Tomorrow: Post-War Bosnia at the Crossroads and will try to provide updates from my perspective here in Belgrade.
A boy in the Roma Mahala neighborhood of Albanian-controlled south Mitrovica. The area is a development and resettling project for Roma who were displaced by fighting and ethnic tension in the 1999 war in Kosovo.

2 Responses to “Balkans Update: Kosovo to Bosnia”

  1. M. Scott Brauer

    Love the new work (especially the stuff from Gazela that you sent me the other day). Think about the Magnum Expression award (or whatever that communities award is that’s coming up real soon)

  2. David

    I just stumbled across this post, luckily it reminds me I gotta get to Kosovo soon, while there is still good light.

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