SEE New Perspectives Masterclass

In 2010, fifteen young South-East European photographers and three masters met in Berlin for the SEE New Perspectives masterclass, organized by World Press Photo and Robert Bosch Stiftung. After the first meeting in Berlin all of the photographers were given a grant to photograph a story within the region but outside of their home country.

The resulting projects are now being exhibited in Belgrade, Serbia (on display until December 14 at the ARTGET gallery on Trg Republike) after debuting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in October. The show will soon move to Zagreb, Croatia and Berlin, Germany. The exhibition features an interesting concept of displaying oversized “magazines” each devoted to one photographer’s project, with only one image from each project along with the photographer’s name on the wall.

You can see all of the stories produced in the masterclass on the SEE New Perspectives website as well as more information about the organization of the project.

The photographers are:
Andrei Pungovschi, Romania
Armend Nimani, Kosovo
Bevis Fusha, Albania
Dženat Dreković, Serbia
Eugenia Maximova, Bulgaria
Ferdi Limani, Kosovo
Jasmin Brutus, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jetmir Idrizi, Kosovo
Marko Risović, Serbia
Nemanja Pančić, Serbia
Octav Ganea, Romania
Petrut Calinescu, Romania
Sanja Jovanović (née Knežević), Serbia
Tomislav Georgiev, Macedonia
Vesselina Nikolaeva, Bulgaria

And the Tutors are:
Regina Anzenberger, Austria, artist, curator, photographer’s agent, gallerist
Silvia Omedes, Spain, president at Photographic Social Vision Foundation
Donald Weber, Canada, photographer VII Agency

I asked my old friend Jasmin Brutus, a Bosnian photographer who was part of the masterclass, to paraphrase the statement he gave at the Sarajevo opening which expresses his feelings about the years-long masterclass project: “We [the participating photographers] all returned with nice small toolbox which our employers will never know how to utilize. So, I think experience in the masterclass is very useful for my personal projects and for my job is almost useless. I gained new skills and my old skills got enhanced. But, for me the most important thing is that I met a group of really great people and great photographers.”

Congratulations to my friends from around the region who were able to take part in this interesting project and many of whom were able to produce terrific photo stories that may otherwise never have seen light or been published. I encourage you to explore the work published on the SEE New Perspectives site or peruse the photographers’ own websites linked above.

The video below features interviews with all of the photographers about their work and experience in the masterclass:

SEE New Perspectives from Balkan Photographers from World Press Photo on Vimeo.

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.

Special Print Sale: A Balkan Portfolio

I sent this out to my mailing list last week but I wanted to extend the offer here to the Dva community.

An exhibition of mine titled “A Balkan Portfolio”, which has been hanging at the offices of the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Seattle for the last year, is ready to come down and I still have some of the framed photographs available for sale. These are of course archival prints and museum framing put together with my favorite small-business partners in Seattle. Due to the fact that I’m overseas I don’t want to burden my family with storing these framed images long term so I am offering them at a discount to try and pass them on to my friends and family who are interested in having some of my work. Click this link to see a gallery of available prints.

Young cow herders work and play in a polluted river near the Albanian town of Vushtrri, Kosovo. 2007

I unfortunately have only one framed print of each image but there will be the possibility of producing more prints if you expressed interest in a sold image. This offer applies only to these individual images; if you are interested in purchasing a print of any of my other photographs please be in touch I would be happy to discuss options with you. Each of these pictures is available for $250 and I can offer free delivery in the Seattle area and we can certainly arrange shipping around the country if need be. 11×14″ image with 3″ matting and matte black wood frames. Send me an email (or leave a comment here if you want me to contact you) – luttonm (at) gmail

Thanks again everyone for your continued support of my work and this website, it is very much appreciated. Please feel free to pass on the link to whomever you think would be interested. By the way if you want to get these sorts of updates earlier, become a ‘fan’ of mine on Facebook… yea I went there.

A garbage fire in the tunnel road of the Dardania neighborhood of Prishtina, Kosovo. 2007