Tag Archive: belgrade
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:
Kamerades is a new collective of photojournalists based in Belgrade who have come together to help develop independent photography in Serbia and to work on group projects documenting contemporary stories. They are currently working together to photograph the Serbian presidential and parliamentary elections, which will take place on Sunday May 6, 2012. These six photographers are contributing their own hard-edged and sardonic vision of the Serbian electoral process and how it reflects Serbian society. They call the project “Dirty Season”.
I think it is an important step for this group and Serbian photography in general to work on such collective projects, with financial support, and to have a community of like-minded photographers working together to get photographs published in their own voice. It is not easy, especially not here, but I admire their energy and efforts. With this in mind I had a few questions for the Kamerades crew about their formation and backgrounds. Given the timeliness of their new project with the elections this week, I chose not to show a portfolio of their work but this current electoral group project which I am so excited about. It is an incredible portrait of Serbia during this election cycle.
Kamerades is Saša Čolić, Nemanja Jovanović, Milovan Milenković, Nemanja Pančić, Marko Risović and Marko Rupena. As a group they regularly post to the Kamerades Blog including updates to the Election story, which they present without captions or credits.
So how did this group of photographers come together? Where did you meet?
Jovanovic: Marko Risovic, Milovan Milenkovic and I participated in a photography lecture supported by World Press Photo back in 2009. That was the first time that we showed some of our work to a group of people larger than three. I was swept by Marko [Risovic]’s Legionnaire story for example and one thing led to another. Milovan suggested that we meet and talk about doing “something” for Serbian photography, even if it means taking only baby steps. After two years of meeting in various pubs and places that would be too generous to call restaurants, speaking and inviting over 20 people to join us, this is what came out of it.
Pancic: Milovan Milenkovic and Nemanja Jovanovic initiated the idea that after our work when we have free time, we can meet at the pub and discuss our work. At first point it brought together a large number of photographers, but over the time there were six of us remained and those were the most persistent ones. During this period, which lasted some two years, we have become a collective. It’s started to affect in a positive way to all of us as photographers, but we also became close friends. In the end we decided to launch a website that allowed us to show our work to the public.
What backgrounds as photographers do you have? Freelance, agencies, newspapers?
Jovanovic: Probably every possible background you can think of! In Serbia, you don’t get a paycheck doing and specializing in only one kind of photography.
Risovic: All of the guys in Kamerades collective were working for Media outlets at some point. At the moment few of us are trying to freelance. In Serbia. Can you imagine?
Pancic: Some of us are working in the agencies, some try to be freelancers, and some in the press.
Was there a moment when this group came together and decided that it was time to work collectively? What was it? What gave you guys the idea to work together?
Jovanovic: Yes. The idea was not so clear in the beginning, but it was there all along. From start we were determined to “push each other forward” and to try to do what we like for no other reason. No money, no awards, fame or glory were important, only escaping our everyday routine which included participating in the inevitable decline of journalism, photojournalism and photography in Serbia. The collective came as a logical solution.
Risovic: Being colleagues, working next to each other for years, we were silent witnesses of degradation of photojournalism in Serbia. We realized that sitting and despairing doesn’t lead us anywhere. So, we decided to pursue some action, and besides hanging around, talking and drinking in the pubs, we tried to be constructive. As Nemanja said before, it was a process, but it was clear from the very beginning that we all have common goal.
How did the website come together? What are you hoping to accomplish with the website (that is, to sell work? to share pictures? promoting yourselves, promoting Serbia, just looking bad-ass, etc.)? Where did the design and logo come from?
Jovanovic: It took some time. We are not experienced in that kind of stuff, so we were learning the basics, step by step. We were lucky enough to be 6 people with completely different interests, knowledge, personalities, approach in photography, but we somehow clicked perfectly together, and it resulted in the fact everybody got their part of job. Mostly Sasha who whipped and pissed off rest of us (or, took the piss out of the rest of us), and Milovan who did logo and design details after approximately nine million e-mails and discussions about the same issue. Also, we had a lot of help from friends, like our colleague Darko Stanimirovic who did the website. A lot of people gave different advices, Matt Lutton among them [ed: happy to help guys!], Donald Weber from VII agency and our friends photographers, designers and editors from Serbia and abroad.
Selling our work is every photographer’s job of course, but with this portfolio we mostly seek attention and hope to sell something in the future, maybe to get some assignments that would suit our style/wishes. And looking cool is one of the goals, of course! We are pretty much terrible musicians and we couldn’t be rock stars, so we took cameras. Chicks love it!
Pancic: As I said before, the website has come as a result of our meetings during the past two years. One idea that keeps us together is that we want to show our work to world around us, we believe that as a collective we have a better chance to get more publicity and through joint actions provide us new projects. Logo design came from a smart push by Milovan Milenkovic, multitalented and good looking guy.
Risovic: Basic thing that bothered us from the beginning was the fact that when you simply google documentary photography and Serbia together, you don’t get any of the serious websites with representative work. There are great documentary photographers and photojournalists in Serbia. Believe us! We hope to change this with our website. And to look badass, it goes well with the fame.
Read on »
by Zeljko Naic
These images were made during two years of therapy that I have prescribed myself, in order to release the tensions and deal with complexes haunting me since I was a child. My first memories are of colorful balloons that I was playing with and a black dog’s nose sniffing my face. I also remember a man in soldier’s uniform leaning over my cradle.
My father left us when I was eight years old. My mother, trying to bring food to the table, worked low-payed jobs long after her retirement. But she could not replace him in every respect. Many things I have learned the hard way, or have never learned. When I was sixteen, the war came. Society collapsed.
Once again I felt abandoned, this time by my fatherland. People suddenly became strangers, caring only about the barest survival. The first casualty was morality, and future became irrelevant. Not that I blame them, really. They didn’t know better.
Without proper guidance, without a role model youths can only do so much with their lives. And the accumulated incapacity of individuals to make significant progress can only form a retarded society. I need to further explore these problems on both my personal and societal levels, in order to find catharsis and be able to better bring up my own children.
Today we introduce a new feature, the Dvafoto Galleries. In addition to linking to photos we find around the world that we have decided to publish some of this work directly on Dvafoto, soon in a special section of the site. The first in this series is my good friend Zeljko Naic. His work stands out in the exciting Belgrade photo community because of how extremely personal and long-term his commitment is to the work. We hope you enjoy it and leave any reactions or comments below
Pause in our normal programming for a bit of an update on what I have been up to here in the Balkans. Lots has been going on and it seems like it will be continuing through the summer. And Scott and I have plenty of interesting things planned for dvafoto so keep tuned.
My long-term project about the relocation of Belgrade Roma “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” is currently featured in Lens Culture magazine. This project was also shortlisted by Anthropographia and was included in the exhibition at the New York Photography Festival and will continue to tour worldwide (a cool picture of the exhibition, snapped by a NY friend, is in the gallery above).
I’ve also published “Chapter Two” of this project on my Photoshelter Archive and included some images in the gallery above, so you can catch up on the project since my last post about the project on dva. I am continuing to photograph this story, following the families of the Gazela camp as they resettle around Serbia following the destruction of their community.
Lastly, thanks to friend Pete Brook at Prison Photography for writing about my work on this project in a post titled The Roma People: Matt Lutton building upon a legacy of wandering photographers.
I also have published on my archive a new gallery of work from Bosnia in an ongoing project called “This Time Tomorrow”. I will be following events in Bosnia closely as political and economic stagnation continues to slowly suffocate the country. Some tectonic shift will and must come to solve one of the world’s most entrenched political crises. Maybe tomorrow, but probably not.
I am currently focused on completing my book about Serbia in the aftermath of the Milosevic decade, titled “Only Unity”. My project was recently announced as one of seven nominees for the POYi Emerging Vision Incentive, a $10,000 grant for an emerging photographer. See some of the work and my (full) proposal at the POYi website. Congrats to the winner of the grant, James Chance and the other nominees.
I am also announcing for the first time publicly the existence of an tumblr sketchbook for this project: onlyunity.tumblr.com. Have a look if you want to follow me feel my way through this work. The latest news is that I’ve finished the first book dummy, which will serve as my university thesis, enabling me to finally graduate this year.
It has been a busy couple of months with a few interesting assignments, taking me from Budapest on a corporate job to a British international school in Belgrade for a UK newspaper. There is much to come this summer, including a trip to a Serbian winery connected to the royal family and projects to be featured in well known online publications. And of course focus on Dvafoto. I look forward to sharing this all soon, and I hope you are enjoying your summer (or winter, if you happen to be south of the equator).
One of my favorite local blogs Belgraded.com posted this video and story earlier this week. On May 15, 2010, the night of the Museums in Belgrade, Italian photographer Luca Donnini wheat-pasted an exhibition of his work on an alley near one of the main squares. He posted them at around 0230am on Saturday morning and by 0900am that same morning the whole “show” had been torn down by police and city cleaning crews. Quite a bummer, as this looks like it would have been a beautiful installation. See the video for the whole scenario. (Possibly NSFW due to some nudity in the photographs)
But this is even more interesting on a local Belgrade level because it could be considered what Belgraded calls “Police Vandalism” of the artwork. For me, its offensive that the city will respond within hours to clean up a “legitimate” piece of street art when they’ll turn their backs for weeks or months when horrible, dangerous homophobic graffiti (example and story here) are thrown all around town. Very wrong priorities here.
But on a happer note, I am so pleased to see that someone is doing guerilla photo exhibitions like this, especially in my own Balkan city. Taking it to the streets, doing it yourself, damn inspiring. See my post which kicked off my obsession with this idea: Taking photos back to the street and a recent post about Simon Norfolk’s outdoor exhibition at Guernsey Photography Festival. Or to JR’s massive “Women are Heroes” exhibition in Paris which takes this to the extreme (direct link to the video) .
I’ve been trying for the last two weeks to put together some sort of introduction to my ongoing project about the destruction of a large Roma camp here in Belgrade, and words have really failed me. I can’t even come up with an original title (this one is hopefully temporary). I have a lot to say about the community I’ve been photographing for four months and how the destruction of their camps was handled, and hopefully I’ll have something coherent to share soon. But I’ve been teasing and working the project too long not to share some of the images here, especially as this first chapter has ended. So you’ll have to wait for some more of the back story and future plans for the project, though I can point you to this news article for some sad details about the exodus, which I am continuing to photograph. Click on any of the images to go to my website which has a small edit of the project.
Sorry for my lack of posting over the last month or so, I’ve been kept very busy with a roadtrip, an assignment in Albania and work on a personal project or two. But I have a lot of little things saved up to post, and will catch up on a few today.
But first I thought I’d share a couple of things from what I’ve been up to. The first of three stories I shot in Albania for the New York Times / International Herald Tribune with Dan Bilefsky, having to do with Sunday’s elections in Albania, has been published: “Albanians, Cut Off, Get Set to Vote”. We have two more stories to go to print in the coming weeks, and I’ll share those and more pictures when I can.
Last, a little peek at a project I’m working on here in Belgrade about Roma communities who are in danger of losing their homes when the city/state redevelops the land that they are squatting on. A lot of issues going on here, and I’ve been trying to unpack it over the last month or so and there is much more to do, this really is in its beginning stages. A little bit further down the line I’ll be able to share more pictures and more of the story. For now, a couple of frames:
Next up are another couple of short trips back to Kosovo and to Bosnia to continue my stories there. I look forward to having more to show you all soon, thanks for having a look!
Matt’s mentioned the book here previously, but if you’re looking for a Boogie fix, Time’s just posted a selection from his new book, Belgrade Belongs to Me. Love this line in one of the cuts: “When Milosevic came to power in 1989, peopole thought he was going to resurrect Serbia to its former glory. It turned out he was just another self-serving Communist bastard.”
Sunday morning (real early) I left cozy Belgrade in the pretty snow for Kosovo. Spent the first 36 hours in Mitrovica and I am now in Prishtina for a couple of days. The first anniversary of Kosovo’s independence is Tuesday. Will probably be here in Prishtina for the festivities…
Big thanks to Giulio Petrocco who let me crash on his couch last night (honestly, the best place I’ve slept in a month). Giulio’s an Italian photographer who is living in North Mitrovica with the Serbs, and he cooks some great pasta.
Will be very busy next few days but will try to write about what is happening here. Probably not too many pictures since we’re trying to publish them ‘for real’ all around… Ciao!
Aye, I have been procrastinating on this post for far too long. I landed in Belgrade a week ago and have been trying to find the words to sum up what this move is all about and what I’m planning. Maybe I’m still figuring it out for myself.
I am currently staying with my friend Jovan of the wonderful XAOC group which we profiled a little bit with an interview with my good friend Djordje Jovanovic. Near the center of Belgrade and a nice flat (minus their fun but overly energetic and yappy dog named MimiNPCRambo), but I’m pining for my own place… unfortunately, finding a decent apartment here at an ok price is hard to do. Patience is called for. Patience is my life right now.
New York ended beautifully with a number of terrific and very encouraging meetings from diverse magazines and agencies, from Vanity Fair to GEO and Getty (and a lucky last-minute ticket to see the Colbert Report tape a show). Hopefully things will come of the solid reviews soon. As I will expand below, there is a lot that I have cooking here in the Balkans and Russia that I am incredibly excited about and I hope I have the chance to fund them and then get them published. DVA will absolutely be a big part of the latter, at least in the short term. I plan to post updates on my stories, travels, assignments and thinking.
This move to the Balkans is both a long time coming and a sudden impulse decision. Back in 2007, when I was on a Balkan study abroad program from the University of Washington, I had a chance to visit a number of cities in the region and then stay on to live and work in Kosovo. From my first few days in Belgrade then, in April 07, I knew that this was a city that was meant for me (like New York). From that moment I knew that I could, and should, move here to pursue my work. I visited again in May/June 2008 and it definitely strengthened this idea … (to utterly rip off my friend Boogie’s phrase, and ironically at that) … I felt that ‘Belgrade Belongs To Me’.
Ultimately there was not enough happening in Seattle for me and it is simply too damn far away from any of the stories I’m really interested in doing right now. Odd, but there really are more work possibilities for me outside of the United States (I see friends moving to the Middle East these days too; the American photographer diaspora?) and hopefully being ‘in a small pond’ will provide me a strong if not lucrative start to my international career. I’ve got a lot of faith, there are dozens of positive signs and I am receiving a lot of support (if only it were the financial kind), so I am very optimistic of success and important pictures. Time will tell, I am and will be forced to remain patient.
I made the decision and bought my ticket (first to New York then to here) about two weeks before I had to leave. Added to the impulse, and hurry, was the last minute decision to go to Washington to cover Obama’s Inauguration. So in a rush I packed up my books, gear and some clothes in Seattle into three bags and hit the plane running; still can’t believe I packed up my life and got away so quickly. Maybe this is the best way to do it, maybe not, but it is working for me. Since moving back to Seattle in the summer of 2007 I’ve been living lightly and without many strings, hoping to be able to get on the road should the opportunity arise. Unfortunately, it really didn’t so with extremely small savings I bought this one way ticket. Now, I’m here trying to find an assignment or two and am prepared to pick up an English teaching job. Yea, wish me luck
The short term plan is to head to Kosovo on Saturday to be part of the first anniversary “festivities” that will happen around the country. On February 17 2008 Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence amidst a strange international reaction and a strong festive and emotive party in the streets. Conventional wisdom amongst journalist friends, Kosovar and international, is that there will be similar actions this coming week, and maybe some stronger Serb reactions in Mitrovica and Serbia proper. No strong rumors yet to anything ‘big’ happening but it is a nice story and probably a very good follow-up chapter in my ongoing work there. It seems the world will be watching (i.e. publications will be interested) so I am quite hopeful to sell a couple of pictures. My agents (Invision and Grazia Neri) are also very enthused about the story and have told me that European editors are responding very favorably to my portfolios so who knows. Work soon, I hope.
Longer term I will be visiting Moldova and the Ukraine for the start of a series of projects on Russia’s influence in flux, centered around the energy economy. After, I hope to find a way to fund some trips across Russia where I have dozens of story ideas, including my dream project in Eastern Siberia, which I’ve mentioned obliquely before. Until I secure funding I still won’t describe what it is But this is the month when I will hear from 4 or 5 grants and if luck will have it I’ll be there working by Fall.
More soon I hope, this time with new real pictures. Haven’t shot anything at all since I’ve been here except these pictures of the snowstorm at dusk today, too much work getting situated and recovering from the crazy push through New York. There have been some requests to describe that process of getting and preparing for meetings with NYC editors and hopefully I’ll get something together on that too. Cheers to all, friends and colleagues. For now from snowy Belgrade, the white city, M.