BOJAN'S BLOG

Photographs, words and sounds
Croatia

The doctor is in…

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The doctor’s in the house! It’s been a long and rather treacherous road to the very end – to the very last minute – but my fabulously smart M has successfully defended her PhD. No idea what’s in store for her after this, but I bet it’s going to be interesting.

Patriots on the march

15-Family027At first, reading the stories about newly elected (installed? appointed?) Croatian government run by a group of right wing political parties calling themselves the Patriotic Coalition was like watching a Monty Python skit. From a safe distance of some 5,000 km, it was almost funny. It isn’t any more. It is rapidly becoming a horror show.

More that a hundred years ago, speaking in San Francisco, Emma Goldman described what we call patriotism in terms that ring very much true today:

“Patriotism […] is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit. Indeed, conceit, arrogance and egotism are essentials of patriotism.”

The photograph was made in St. John’s, NL.

Thirteen

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Miss F. turned thirteen today. So ridiculously proud of the young woman she is becoming.

Saying random things is not a good idea

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Poor Little Miss F had a rough night with a stomach bug. The worst and the messiest of it was over by 3:30 am and she fell asleep on the couch in the living room. By the time noon came about she was almost herself. M asked her if she wanted to go to school after lunch. Thinking about it for a moment, Little Miss F calmly explained that if she goes, she feels like she’ll be tired and if she is asked a question she won’t remember what it was and she’ll just say something random so it’s not a good idea. She stayed home for the day.

A sleepless night and Interstellar science

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Aware just how pointless it is to be irrationally angry at the fact that on one night we could use a good night of sleep, Little Miss F, poor thing, had to come down with a stomach bug, I spent the early hours of the morning watching Interstellar on Netflix. Not a great movie, but it beats laying in bed seething.

After finishing it, I was wondering about the science of the whole thing – in fact, it was a particularly silly scene where the little spacecraft hits an ice cloud and the shards of ice FALL DOWN while the cloud itself defies gravity that lead me down some interesting internet rabbit holes (there was no explanation for that particular silliness, though). Here is an interview with Kip Thorne, scientific advisor on the film (he spends a bit too much time selling his book, but whatever).

The photo is from Vis Island.

Photo links from New York to Yangtze River

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Photo links galore:

Apparently, Bruce Gilden has a new book out and it makes Sean O’Hagan uncomfortable. Bruce Gilden makes everybody uncomfortable, but I doubt he cares.

Robert Frank’s series From the Bus is interesting and totally new to me.

Fantastic photographs of East and West Germany from 1977 to 1987 by German photographer Rudi Meisel. Now a book, too: LANDSLEUTE 1977 – 1987. TWO GERMANYS.

Tatiana Plotnikova’s photographs of Russian pagans are beautiful. Really nice work and a fascinating story.

I am not sure what is more odd, the story of photogrpaher Mustafa Abdulaziz and his photographic work or the photographs he made along the Yangtze River in China.

The photograph above was made in Komiža on Vis Island in Croatia.

Photo links from Cuba to neighbourhood shops

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Photo links post today:

Three things you should take a look at on [LENS] (incidentally, see how good and smart a photo section in a newspaper on-line can be when you dedicate resources to it!):

Photography in Cuba: It’s Not Easy. An interesting take on the International Centre of Photography retrospective of Cuban photography by both Cuban and non-Cuban photographers.

Visualizing the Common Core Curriculum. How do you photograph a government policy? Here is one photographer’s take on a new education policy in the USA.

In China, the Photobook as Art and History. I would love to get my hands on this one.

After [LENS], head over to The New Yorker’s Photo Booth and take a look Zoe Leonard’s photos of old neighbourhood shops. As somebody who photographs corner stores, I suspect I find this more interesting than most.

In the photograph is a scene from Vis Island, Croatia.

Photography related links

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Vis on Vis island, Croatia.

Some photo links today:

Guardian has a story and interview with Stephen Shore on his exhibit in Arles.

An interesting story on women photojournalists in [LENS]. Incidentally, I believe June issue of National Geographic had all the stories but one photographed by women and you could see the difference in approach, subjects, and themes they covered.

Fantastic photographs and a very important story in New York Times Magazine on Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker’s efforts to dismantle organized labour in America.

Silently cool

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We passed this skateboarder on Vis island in Croatia whose board had lit wheels and we all commented on how cool that was. In fact, Ms. M. said she wished she had a cool husband like that. Little Miss F., without missing a beat, looked at her and said with absolute conviction: “Dad is cool in a silent way.”

Take that world.

Photo: Vis island, Croatia.

Tito in a St. John’s cab

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When I looked at the driver and even before we said a word to each other, there was a jolt of recognition, a sense of familiarity every immigrant sometimes feels – a genetic alarm telling you that the person in front of you hails from the more or less same ancestral pool. It is not necessarily a joyous feeling, rather a mix of caution and a hope that you might be able to exchange a greeting in a tongue that feels familiar and mysterious this far from its homeland. This cab driver, a Bosnian, and I got along alright. At some point, he pulled the card hanging on an elastic band from his rearview mirror and turned it towards me. And there was Marshal Tito, in all his uniformed glory, in a St. John’s cab. We laughed and he looked out at the snow buried streets and said: “And here we are.”

That was a few months ago. To tell you the truth, I forgot about that photograph. I just developed some film this past weekend and this photograph suddenly became more significant than if I looked at it a couple of months ago. In two weeks, we will be leaving for a much needed family vacation to Croatia. It’s a cause of great excitement. My older daughter has fond memories of a couple of visits she can remember. How could she not? When she is there, she is surrounded by people who genuinely love her and care about her and what is more, they get to see her so rarely that they are willing to fulfill her every wish. That is certainly not how her parents treat her. For the younger one, this is the adventure of her life so far – she is looking forward to almost two months of firsts: a first plane ride, a first train ride, a first trip abroad, and the first visit to grandparents who last saw her when she was a gurgling bundle of diapers and blankets. Above all else, for my daughters, Croatia is a place of madcap stories, odd relatives, happy childhoods and magical beauty. It is that because of me. I am the one who over the years created that narrative and now, as I read yet another surreal article about the rise of nationalism, poisonous catholicism, and glorification of the country’s fascist past I feel guilty about it. I feel I lied to them. I never told them about this other Croatia rapidly unfolding over the last few months on the screen of my laptop.

This Croatia is a country whose nationalists seemingly read Orwell’s essays on nationalism and totalitarianism not as a warning, but a how-to manual for achieving a supreme state of paranoia, xenophobia and the hatred of everybody and everything that is not Croatian. “Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered,” wrote Orwell and Croatian nationalists took it to heart. From nazi salutes at football games to wilful blindness when it comes to the horrendous record of the Croatian nazi collaborators, to fascist movements, to Marshall Tito and five decades of socialism, Croatian nationalists are re-imagining history busily following Orwell’s advice that for nationalists: “…history is something to be created rather than learned.”

And it’s not just history. As the economic recession drags on and the number of the unemployed stays stubbornly high, as those who can leave the country in search of a better life somewhere else, leave, the range of issues that sends nationalists frothing at the mouth is growing: homosexual and reproductive rights are out, misogyny is in, asylum seekers are not welcome, anything to do with science and technology – from vaccines to large hadron collider – is suspicious, Catholic Church is trustworthy, and every crackpot conspiracy theory makes perfect sense to them. After all, Orwell said that “totalitarianism […] in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.”

And so what am I to say to my daughters about this place we are going to? That their worth will be measured by how they look because the opportunities for women in a society overrun by rabid nationalism glorifying violence and subscribing to a bizarre version of fundamental catholicism are non-existent? That nobody will say a word of encouragement to a 12-year-old who is writing her first novel? That the 8-year-old’s ambition to become a chef will be laughed at? That just by virtue of having this cocktail of Austro-Hungarian, Scottish, French and Cree genes running through their veins they are less then perfect? And, maybe worst of all, that their parents are antifascists and humanists who find the crassness and futility of cheap nationalism as scary as it is repugnant?

“And here we are,” as the cab driver would say.

We will go first to an island. Small islanders everywhere still know how to live. After that, we’ll thread carefully. We are going to see a Rodin exhibit and we’ll spend a lot of time with grandma and grandpa discovering some old recipes that have been in the family for generations. We’ll build some memories and strengthen family ties. We’ll hike in the countryside and visit some rural places. We’ll sunbathe and swim in crystal clear waters. We’ll read lots of books. Hopefully, all of it will serve as a bit of an inspiration to a budding novelist and a beginner chef. And I am sure we will have conversations about poverty and unemployment, and what it does to people. And we’ll talk about nationalism and fascism.

And most of all I hope that we will also make some new stories – the family kind we can all share with friends and hopefully they will be just as crazy as those I told to my kids already.

Fundamentalisms…

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In the light of yesterday’s referendum in Croatia that made one form of discrimination (agains gay marriage, in this case) a part of the country’s constitution the words of Karima Bennoune yesterday in an interview with Michael Enright ring sadly true:

“Fundamentalisms are the political movements of the extreme right that in the context of globalization manipulate religion to achieve their political aims. They are basically power projects that use religious discourse to justify an extremist agenda.”

Karima Bennoune in an interview with Michael Enright
(You can hear the whole thing on CBC’s Sunday Edition website.)

On the photograph is the Old Bridge in my home town of Sisak.

You have to be careful with the island…

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“You have to be careful with the island. There is a trap here. If you prevent a young person from leaving, the island turns into a curse. They must go and get to know the world and it has to be their own decision to return and to love the island. If you tell them: “Don’t go there. That’s not for you,” then there is going to be resentment. It’s our job to push them out into the world. We have to give them the love for the island, we have to teach them about life here, but it has to be their decision. If you don’t do that, than they have no reason to come back. It’s only love that works… That is what happened to me. I had a grandma who passed that love on to me and I left to see the world, but I also felt that I can affirm myself the best here, that here, I am myself and that here I can make the greatest contribution. But if I didn’t learn that love, if I did not have that contact with the island, I would have left and would be contented somewhere else and I would not feel that I belong to this island. It’s all about where you belong.”

That is a quote from one of my interviews on Vis island, Croatia.

Also in the news today is the inclusion of a particular style of a cappella singing on Croatian coast into the list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. The song bellow is performed by Klapa Otok (Island) and it’s called “Islanders’ Ballad.”

My not so great translation is below:

Islanders’ ballad

We live off sea, by nets and lines,
We count the blisters from oars, picks.
Red are our eyes from sleepless nights and tears,
Our callused hands are hard as rocks.

And we are lashed by storms and rains,
And every day we are bent over a bit more,
And yet, more than anything and more than all other beauties
Our entire lives we love sea

Our blue sea, you know all our desires
You are strength, fortune – our life

We count the sails and white ships,
The days are passing with nor’easters and sou’westers. 
Miserly land gives all it can,
Life on an island is a joy and sorrow.

What if…

Hmmm… this project I have in mind may not actually be a 6×7 project or just a holga project but an infrared film holga project…

That idea is thoroughly inspired by remarkable work of Wolfgang Moersch.

The photograph is from Split, Croatia.

Street photography and merry-go-round

I am slowly making my way through fabulous Street Photography Now. Hands down one of the best books on street photography out there. Here are some photographers I really like:

Jens Olof Lashein is a Swede doing pretty darn interesting work all over eastern and southeastern Europe. Check his Moments in Between series as well as White Sea Black Sea.

Arif Asci is a Turkish photographer working on the streets of Istanbul and all over the world.

Cristóbal Hara is a Spanish photographer working in rural Spain and presenting his work almost exclusively in books.

Also check out Steidl’s website and awfully tempting collection of photography books.

The photograph above is from Split, Croatia, during the Saint Domnius celebrations this past spring. I love that old-fashioned merry-go-round. Made me think of Cliffhanger, Susan’s fabulous photo blog about carnies.

Croatian word of the day: vrtuljak merry-go-round

Islands – Otoci

 

Wow… It’s been a while… Lots of good news to report.

The printing for the exhibit is coming along nicely; the frames have been picked; and I think I’ll manage to do all this on time.

I also have a trip scheduled for Fogo Island and Change Islands in the first week of October so that I can slowly start working on a new but related body of work around my longterm islands project.

The most exciting news of all is that I have also started writing what is probably going to be a monthly column for a news website on the Island of Vis in Croatia. It has been good 12 years since I wrote something in my own language and after initial jitters, it was such an enormous pleasure to string those words together. They flow so much more naturally for me than English. Below is the first text on island landscapes for those of you comfortable reading in Croatian. I am also wondering if it is the time to make this blog truly bilingual, although that my be more work than I can now afford to do. Still, it would be quite fun to do.  Above is a photo from Vis…

Otočni krajolici – krhka opstojnost

I opet ta riječ “fragile”. Svaki put kad se razgovor dotakne otoka i otočne tematike, netko će već posegnuti za tom riječi: krhki otoci. A meni dođe da vrištim.

– Krhki?

Evo ovdje na ovom mom otoku Newfoundlandu, kojeg tako nemilosrdno tuče sjeverni Atlantik, mi stojimo na nastarijim stijenama na svijetu. Nema tu ništa krhko. A na Visu, ‘mom’ drugom otoku, Višani, sve nešto krhki i lomljivi, već 6,000 godina žive na svom otoku.

Ali ništa se tu ne može. Čak i ovdje na Malti, na konferenciji o otocima, okruženi debelim zidinama i kičastim crkvama koje stoje kao spomenici rasipništvu i potrebi da se dokaže kako je moj ipak veći od tvoga, profesor nakon profesora, akademik nakon akademika, ustaje i priča o krhkim otocima koji, eto, samo što se nisu raspali rastočeni od mora, ljudske nebrige i neke, očito samo meni nevidljive, prirodne krhkosti.

Otoke sam zavolio još kao dječak koji je čitao Julesa Verna i Raphaela Sabatinija i nadao se ljetnim praznicima, kad morski vidici nakratko zamjene one industrijske kojima je moj rodni Sisak oduvijek obilovao. To dječačko romantično ljubovanje s otocima nije me napustilo ni kasnije, ali se pretvorilo u nešto zanimljivije i kompleksnije.

Ja sam fotograf i geograf.

Spojiti te dvije strasti, naravno, nije teško čak ni danas kada su i fotografi i geografi više preokupirani zaslonom svojih računala i matematičkim modelima, nego onim sto se nalazi ispred njihovih vrata. A i jednostavnije je tako, jer nepredvidljivost onoga što se nalazi s druge strane naših kućnih vrata je toliko nerazumljiva da se često čini zastrašujućom, umjesto uzbudljivom. No još uvijek ima nas kojima su udobne cipele najvažniji dio fotografske i geografske opreme. Tako su i moji otoci meni neprekidno izvor inspiracije, ali i ispitivanja ne samo otočnih krajolika nego i sebe samoga.

Otoci se često smatraju zatvorenim i nazadnim sredinama, no daleko je to od istine. Okruženi morem, poput pustinjskih oaza, oni su utočište lutalicama i spas brodolomnicima. Otovoreni prema svima koji pokažu malo dobre volje, otočani su upućeni prema svijetu barem isto onoliko koliko i prema vlastitim obalama.

John Donne je napisao da nitko nije otok, i mogu mu to oprostiti jer on nije imao prilike upoznati modernog imigranta. Podjeljenog identiteta, mi imigranti nemamo izbora. Biti otok, čvrsto se držeći morskog dna, upućeni na sebe i otvoreni prema drugima, to je jedini način da ostanemo normalni – barem donekle, rekli bi zlobnici. I tako svaki imigrant izgradi za sebe identitet koji je samo njegov baš kao i što svaki otok ima neki svoj, neponovljiv izričaj koji ne može postojati nigdje drugdje – arhitekti bi rekli “genius loci”.

Može li se taj “duh mjesta” uhvatiti fotografskim objektivom? Ne može. Ono što se može, a možda čak i mora, je držati oči otvorene i pokušati opisati neke od osebujnih načina na koje otočani žive sa svojim otokom.

Na samom početku svoje priče o mostu koji spaja beznačajne ljudske sudbine i svemoćne carevine, Ivo Andrić je napisao da “nema slučajnih građevina, izdvojenih iz ljudskog društva u kome su nikle, i njegovih potreba, želja i shvatanja”. Kakvu nam to priču pričaju kamene stepenice viške crkve i drvena sojenica za ribolovnu opremu okovana ledom na Change Otocima u Newfoundlandu? Zašto su Komižani izgradili svoj gradić kao kompaktnu urbanu sredinu, a zašto mještani Joe Batt’s Arma, mjesta na otoku Fogo, ribari kao i Komižani, vole svoje drvene kućice raštrkati po ledom okovanim granitnim stijenama svog otoka?

Ja duboko vjerujem da fotografski proces ne završava fotografijom u galeriji, na masnom papiru časopisa ili zaslonu računala. To je za mene samo početak. Fotografija je uspjela onog tenutka kada postane razlog da razmjenimo doživljaje, iskustva i priče i pronađemo nešto zajedničko u našim različitostima. To je ta snaga otoka i otočana, koji usprkos krhkosti ekonomskih i demografskih prilika uvijek nekako pronađu načina da opstoje i da se prilagode novim vremenima, baš onda kad svi zaključe kako je, eto, došlo vrijeme da se još jedan mali otok pretvori u morsku hrid.

Bojan Fürst
Newfoundland, 13. 09. 2011.

 

 

 

On ferryboats

I wrote this recently and I don’t feel like shopping it around. If you like it, consider contributing a couple of bucks to the Islands Landscapes campaign.

No journey to an island begins until the ribbed, rusty, steel-plate ramp scrapes along a concrete ferry dock.

Ferryboats are strange beasts. Unloved, but necessary. Step on one and there is nothing like casting off lines to make you feel you are truly abandoning familiar shores. But, you are not quite there yet – wherever there might be. That slight apprehension you feel comes from being in a limbo, a non-place. Maybe that’s why ancient poets depicted poor Charon as a bad tempered, old grouch day in and day out ferrying frightened souls across the river separating us from the Underworld. Unlike his passengers, who have a whole new world to explore, the old man is stuck on his little piece of the river, immortal, but without a destination. What could be worse?

In the old world tales, greed was punished by the eternity of ferrying duties. In the Brothers Grimm version, it is the greedy king who gets an oar handed to him, but in the story collected by Russia’s folklorist Aleksandr Afanasyev it is the rich merchant Marco who is condemned to row travellers across a river until the end of time. It’s the Russian version that resonates here in Newfoundland where rich fish merchants kept a tight grip on small outport communities and where large boat owners threaten the livelihoods of small inshore fishermen to this day.

Ask islanders what is one change that would make the most difference in their lives and ferry service will inevitably be the first thing they mention. Those from away will sagely nod their heads in sympathy and understanding, but they understand only a half of it. To them, a ferryboat is a symbol of isolation. It’s the only way to get to this place that sits in the middle of unpredictable, capricious, ever-changing sea. Of course one would want a better, faster, more frequent crossing of those treacherous waters that can shimmer invitingly one moment only to rise and swallow a man, snatch a child or wash away a home a heartbeat later. And it’s true that when your loved one is ill, when island families gather from afar for funerals, births or reunions, a faster, better, more frequent crossing is desirable. What those not of the islands don’t know – cannot know – is that to an islander the sea is not only a barrier to be crossed, but an open field to be savoured. The ferryboat is not just a lifeline, a beast of burden to carry the ill, the old, and the newborn, but also a guardian of their islandness who allows only so many and not one more to come onto their shores.

And those who come, usually when the weather is fair, are driven by curiosity or nostalgia, by a sense of mission or just dragged along to a godforsaken rock sticking out in the middle of the ocean.

Teenagers, feigning indifference, refuse to leave the deck as the summer storm gathers clouds and pours rain amid flashes of lightning and rumbling thunder. They sit on the deck, hair sticking to their wet faces, inadequately dressed, texting their friends and complaining about boredom while their eyes betray a mix of fear and awe for they just glimpsed their own insignificance.

An elderly couple stares out the window, hungrily. The first glimpse of the island of their youth will ease the pain in their swollen joints. It will make everything bearable again for a little while.

There is that other couple, middle aged and sophisticated. Instead of a red convertible, they have a saltbox house on the island and know exactly how that place should be run. They, like Bosnian folk hero Đerzelez Alija who hated ferryboats and boatmen, would prefer to skip this old rusty boat altogether and, in the absence of Alija’s winged steed, they might settle for a bridge to leap across the water. But a ferry is all they have – it’s the only thing we all have.

On a ferryboat we are all in it together. The three young men who, in preparation for a wild night out, drank a bottle of hard liquor and six litres of beer in two hours it took to cross the sea between their island and a city on the mainland throwing a party to celebrate its patron saint. The older couple whose arthritic fingers contort once more in pain of departure. The bored teenagers. Toddlers bouncing up and down still high on sugar that their grandparents secretly fed them before the ferryboat snatched them away once again. The writer talking to his wife about a story on ferries he’d like to write. “Faeries,” she says surprised. “That’s different for you,” she says while imagining lighter than air creatures full of magic. “Ferries,” he says feeling under his feet the grumpy rumble of this hulking, rusting beast of burden with its crew stuck in limbo, but dutifully taking them all to the other shore.

 

 

Campaign update

The fundraising campaign for my Islands Landscapes exhibit has officially launched two days ago. I announced it on facebook, twitter and Google+ and it took less than 15 minutes for the first donation. That was really amazing. And it was a bit humbling because it came from somebody I don’t personally know beyond the fact that we have common interest in photography and occasionally contribute to the same photography forum. There were also friends who shared the campaign with their contacts and networks as well as sent kind words of encouragement.

On my end of things, I am making final selection of the prints that are going to be on display and trying to make some decisions on sizing and sequencing. I would also like to make the exhibit a bit more interactive and am exploring different possibilities to do so. I am also pleased to confirm a show in New Brunswick in spring 2012. And, again thanks to a Croatian photographer I met on a forum, but not in person, there is a possibility that the exhibit might see more than one location in Croatia.

Finding darkroom facilities remains a challenge. In fact I am surprised that there are no professional darkrooms left in the city that I can find.

One thing at the time, though. For now it would be great to hit $750 which would cover all of the materials necessary to produce the prints.

Below is the pitch video and you can also visit the campaign page:

A doorway on Vis Island, Croatia.

Croatian word of the day: stranica page [stra ni tza]

Support Island Landscapes exhibit

 

 

Film photoblogs

Neat thread on rangefinder.com featuring several film photoblogs including Colin Corneau whose work is familiar to most folks in Manitoba and Trevor Marczylo whose style I quite like.

A brass orchestra crossing the main square in Zagreb, Croatia.

Croatian word of the day: orkestar orchestra

Support Island Landscapes exhibit

 

 

Island wisdom…

“…ni bogât oni ku ima puno, nego oni komu je potriba mālo!”

Anela Borčić
Garbîn, zao vjetar

 in my clumsy translation:

“…rich is not the one who has a lot, but the one who needs little!”

 Anela Borčić
Garbîn, evil wind

 —

Komiža, Vis Island, Croatia.

Croatian word of the day: bogat rich

Support Island Landscapes exhibit

 

 

Photo links

Some photo links today.

I really like the work of Jing Huang who won this years Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer award.

You can watch an 18 minute video featuring all this year’s winners here.

Also check out the work of Junku Nishimura who was recently interviewed on Leica blog.

Split, Croatia.

Croatian word of the day: pobjednik winner [po bye dnik]

 

Support Island Landscapes exhibit

 

 

On photojournalism

There is a really important debate going on over at duckrabbit’s about conflict photography and the glamorization of war photographers by the media. Duckrabbit being duckrabbit has no need to mince words:

“Isn’t there something really screwed about the fact that the people in the pictures, what’s happening to them in a conflict, now seems to be of significantly less interest then what happens to the person taking the picture?”

I agree and this has been flaring up occasionally over the years. The most recent flareup was probably the interview with Christopher Anderson shortly after the publication of his book Capitolio when he said:

“The death of journalism is bad for society, but we’ll be better off with less photojournalism. I won’t miss the self-important, self-congratulatory, hypocritical part of photojournalism at all. The industry has been a fraud for some time. We created an industry where photography is like big-game hunting. […] We end up with cartoons and concerned photographer myths…”

All true to a large extent and the backlash to both duckrabbit’s and Anderson’s manure disturbing was expected and understandable given that there are people who truly believe in and practice responsible and deeply concerned photojournalism. I recently wrote a comment on David Campbell’s blog arguing that a lot of the blame should be laid at the feet of editors  at the major media who without fail choose the stories that allow them to create celebrities out of their own staff and colleagues over actual, real journalism.

The trend is unmistakable and plays directly into the hands of various power agents who prefer it that way – they often carry guns as David Levi Strauss points out in his essay “Photography and Belief” where he discusses the dramatic change in the conflict coverage during the first Gulf War:

“… the Vietnam-era generals in charge of Desert Storm recognized from the beginning that modern communication technologies make it impossible to wage war in the open. Today, war must be hidden behind the impenetrable propaganda curtain–no images of death and destruction, no fields bloody with carnage, no dismembered corpses; no orphans, or gangrene, or naked napalmed little girls; and no body count. The surprise was how readily, and how completely, the American public acquiesced.”

And there you have it in a nutshell. Give us celebrities and heroes and don’t bother us with the complicated stuff. Glamorization of conflict photographers is a logical extension of that particular story line. It works for the military and the politicians, it works for the public and it sells. The painful irony of the whole thing would be side-splitting funny if it weren’t so deeply sad.

I’ll give the last word to Abbas who addresses some of this at about 5:08. The first part of that interview is here.

Statue of Bishop Gregory in Split. The legend has it that rubbing the statue’s big toe brings good luck. That is probably the only thing the tourists remember anyway.

Croatian word of the day: propaganda propaganda [step enee tze]

Support Island Landscapes exhibit

 

 

Island Landscapes exhibit

I will be one of the exhibitors at the North Atlantic Forum conference scheduled to take place in St. John’s, NL on October 14th and 15th.

Here is where you can help me out.

I decided to try crowdfunding the exhibit using IndieGoGo engine as a backbone of the campaign. You can visit the campaign page and the first person that makes a donation gets an 11×14 print regardless of the amount donated (of course, if that person donates $250 or more, I’d be happy to send you the print as an extra on top of what you will be getting anyway).

Some of you may know that I made an attempt at crowdfunding before it was fashionable to do that. At that time, quite frankly, the technology simply wasn’t there. Believe it or not, there was no twitter at the time and facebook had nowhere near the reach it has now.

Blog updates will continue, of course, with occasional campaign update.

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A church and stone steps in town of Vis on Vis island, Croatia.

Croatian word of the day: stepenice stairway [step enee tze]

Support Island Landscapes exhibit

Something is afoot…

Public service sector workers are going on strike tomorrow in the UK. The Spaniards have been protesting on the streets since May. Greek unionized workers and youth have been on the street for a month and most of it was not violent. Here is a flickr set from Helen Sotiriadis that offers you a very different view of the Greek protests from what you’ve seen in the media. Even Newfoundlanders are protesting. People in the Middle East, including Egypt, remain adamant in their demands for better and freer life. Small, incremental changes are not enough anymore.

The times may indeed be changing.

Well of Life in Zagreb is and incredible piece of public art by Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.

Croatian word of the day: narod people

Vis on BBC

Town of Vis, Vis Island, Croatia.

Here is a short and somewhat odd travel show on Vis from BBC (h/t Moj otok Vis). There is a really nice footage of the traditional fishing sailboat falkuša with its gorgeous lateen sails.

Croatian word of the day: jedro sail [yedro]