This was a very interesting year for me, definitely the busiest since I moved to Belgrade, Serbia in February 2009, filled with lots of travel and some interesting assignments. Notably I had the chance to visit Africa for the first time, on assignment in South Sudan, and received the Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Fund Grant for my ongoing project “Only Unity”.
A woman in tears as her family and city workers rush to pack their belongings in to city trucks during the razing of the Belville camp in New Belgrade, in an area underneath the New Belgrade train station. April 2012.
Residents leaving the Belville camp in New Belgrade on the morning of its destruction by the Belgrade city government. Many residents were moved to container homes at the edge of the city. April 2012.
Walking through flooded cattle grazing land near the town of Maar, South Sudan in Jonglei State along the Bor-Panyagor road. September 2012.
Flying above the Nile River and beginning of the Sud on a flight from Juba to Bor, South Sudan. September 2012.
South Sudanese Police Service Captain John Arway in the offices of the Commissioner of East Twic County, Dan Akoi Jurkuch. September 2012.
A Nile River fishing camp in Terekeka, South Sudan. September 2012.
Along the Bor-Panyagor road in Jonglei State, South Sudan. September 2012.
SSPS patrolling along an impassible dirt road near the Jonglei canal, 9km from Panyagor town. September 2012.
Arriving in Juba, the capitol of South Sudan, on a flight from Bor. September 2012.
The River Wye near Symonds Yat in the Forest of Dean. England. January 2012.
A brass band plays for a floating riverboat party on the Sava River in Belgrade, Serbia. October 2012.
A rowdy crowd gathers outside of the incumbent Democratic Party offices in central Belgrade after opposition leader Tomislav Nikolic was declared the winner of the Serbian Presidential Election. May 20, 2012.
Boys playing with a toy gun and campaign balloons in the central square of Veliko Gradiste before President Boris Tadic arrived for a campaign event. April 2012.
Tomislav Nikolic, center, during a standing ovation at the Serbian Progressive Party congress in Belgrade. He was elected as the President of Serbia days later. May 2012.
Serbian President Boris Tadic sits for a moment along the Danube River in the Eastern Serbian town of Golubac following a campaign event. April 2012.
A slava (Orthodox saint’s day) celebration organized by the far-right group “Obraz” at the Bogorodičina Crkva in Zemun. November 2012.
A boy fishing in the Danube river in Veliko Gradiste, Serbia. April 2012.
The construction of a new seawall in the town of Makarska, Croatia. December 2012.
Girls wait in their family’s car as city workers pack their belongings in the Belville camp during the eviction by the Belgrade city government. April 2012.
Milan Andjelic herding sheep in the village of Cenici near Knin, Croatia. He and his mother are some of the few remaining Serbs in the area. December 2012.
Sveti Sava Cathedral in Belgrade, Serbia. February 2012.
The Kozara movie theater on Terazije street in Belgrade caught fire during renovations. May 2012.
Bulldozers razing the Belville camp in Belgrade in an area underneath the New Belgrade train station. The residents of the community had been relocated earlier in the day. April 2012.
I started the year in England, then was in Sarajevo for a story about the 20th anniversary of the start of the war there. My mother came to visit me in Belgrade in April, but our trip was interrupted by Presidential elections in Serbia, which I covered for the Wall Street Journal. That assignment led to one of the strangest days of my career, when I photographed both Serbian President Boris Tadic and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani hours apart in the same TV studio (see the WSJ article about Giuliani in Belgrade).
Soon after I was documenting the destruction of the Belville Roma settlement. My friend Darko Stanimirović and I handed out disposable cameras to residents of the camp so that they could document the eviction themselves. We published a multimedia piece at Newsmotion.org with these community pictures alongside Stanimirović’s audio recordings, a text by Alan Chin and some of my pictures as “The Sound of Barking Dogs: The Eviction of the Roma from Belville”.
In September I was in South Sudan reporting a story about the future of the Jonglei Canal and the issues of water rights for the youngest country on the planet. The project was commissioned by Austrian magazine 2012, an interesting one-year-only magazine published by Red Bull Media House. I have included a few images from the project here, but for now the only other pictures online are the tearsheets from ‘2012’ which you can see on the clips section of mattlutton.com.
I also spent a total of four months in the United States, and was able to finally visit the area of the former Republic of Serbian Krajina in Croatia to document the remnants of Serbian life there. I was invited to be on the jury of the Organ Vida international photography festival in Zagreb, and was a speaker and juror at the “Foton” Makarska Photo Days Festival.
The biggest news of the year for me though was the Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Fund Grant, which I received in June for my project “Only Unity”: Serbia In The Aftermath of Yugoslavia.
The response to the project has been very exciting, and I’m eager to finish the work this year. If you would like to know more, have a look at one of the interviews I did last year following the announcement: “Award-Winning Project Documents a Fractured Serbia” with Pete Brook at Wired’s Raw File blog, “Picture Story: Holding up a Mirror to Serbian Nationalism” in PDN Magazine (subscribers only unfortunately, see what it looked like in print here), and my chat with fellow EPF-finalist and friend Ian Willms on “BOREAL Spotlight: Matt Lutton, “Only Unity””.
You can have a look at my previous year-end posts on Dvafoto: 2009, 2010 and 2011. If you’d like more regular updates about my work, feel free to sign up for my occasional newsletter.
Thanks again everyone for continuing to follow Dvafoto and supporting all of the photographers we feature here. I wish you all a fun and successful 2013!