BOJAN'S BLOG

Photographs, words and sounds
Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Fundamentalisms…

Sisak02

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…

Vis11

“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.

Tearsheets

Between work, family, finishing off my MA thesis and other assorted academic obligations I barely have time to breathe. The tearsheets are from the latest Newfoundland Quarterly  magazine. This is a tiny, little bit of my thesis in a magazine opinion piece form. You can read the whole thing here.

 

Collections…

Some time ago I posted a bunch of links on various photo collections here and here. It’s time to add another collection to it. Phil Kneen’s The Old Leather Chair Project is not just a collection but also an exemplary instance of true dedication to his craft. Phil lags his leather chair all over the Isle of Man in the back of his van.

The photograph is of a gas stop (I really can’t call it a station) along a street in Floriana, Malta.

And more from Shetland Islands

A few more form Shetland…

A few from Shetland Islands

Lerwick, Shetland Mainland.

A few from Malta…

I am cleaning my blog folder which is bursting with photographs mostly because I’ve been neglecting blogging for some time. I am, obviously, back in the swing of things!

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.

A few more from Shetland…

A few more from Shetland Islands

A couple of photographs from Edinburgh

 

 

 

A few from Shetland Islands…

EU: Za ili protiv?

Prije otprilike godinu dana, prijatelj me je pitao što ja mislim o Europskoj uniji i eventualnom hrvatskom članstvu u toj uniji. Rekao je kako već dugo živim vani, ali sam dovoljno često u Hrvatskoj i pratim što se događa pa bi ga znimalo kakvo je moje viđenje stvari iz neke kanadsko-hrvatske, novinarsko-akademske perspektive.

Nisam mu tada uopće odgovorio. Nisam odgovorio uglavnom iz istih razloga iz kojih nikada nisam glasao na hrvatskim predsjedničkim ili parlamentarnim izborima od kada sam se odselio izvan granica Republike Hrvatske. Kao državljanin Republike Hrvatske čija obitelj i prijatelji još uvijek tamo žive mene zanima što se u Hrvatskoj događa, ali mislim da nemam pravo odlučivati na hrvatskim izborima o tome tko će voditi državu u kojoj ja ne plaćam poreze i u koju dolazim samo kao rijetki turist.

Imao sam priliku studirati u Kanadi na poziv moje obitelji koja je tamo živjela više od dvadeset godina. I oni i moji roditelji su se zadužili i puno toga odrekli da bih ja završio faks. Nisam imao namjeru ostati, no zaljubio sam se, oženio i danas živim na otoku Newfoundland u kanadskoj najistočnijoj i relativno siromašnoj provinciji. Radim na sveučilištu u centru za regionalnu politiku i razvoj i spremam magisterij uz rad. Studiram zemljopis i moj se znanstveno-istrazivački rad bavi problematikom malih otoka u Hrvatskoj i Kanadi. Imam plaću nešto veću od kanadskog prosjeka pa se mogu smatrati srednjim slojem. Supruga mi sprema doktorat i primanja joj ovise o stipendijama i slabo plaćenim istraživačkim projekatima. Klinke idu u školu i vrtić. Podstanari smo i nemamo auto. Da smo u Hrvatskoj u sličnoj situaciji, vjerojatno nam život ne bi bio bitno drugačiji. Da budemo iskren, životni standard, ako ga ne mjerimo samo u materijalnim dobrima, bi nam gotovo sigurno bio i bolji.

Zašto vam sve ovo govorim? Prije svega zato što mi je još uvijek neugodno soliti pamet ljudima u Hrvatskoj, a onda i zato što hoću da znate da ovo piše običan čovjek bez nekih skrivenih namjera.

Dakle, kad bih ja 22. siječnja morao odgovoriti na pitanje “Jeste li za članstvo Republike Hrvatske u Europskoj uniji?” što bih ja zaokružio, ZA ili PROTIV?

Da budem iskren ja još uvijek nisam odlučio i da moram 22. siječnja izaći na referendum ovo što slijedi je vjerojatno ono što bi mi prolazilo kroz glavu.

Prije svega, bio bih ljut kao pas. Bio bih ljut na one koji su pljačkali državu 20 godina. Gledali su samo svoj osobni interes i natjerali nas na ponižavajuće pregovore koji su trajali duže nego s bilo kojom drugom državom članicom EU. Sram me je da su nam kojekakvi europski birokrati morali objašnjavati da su ljudska prava, pravo na povratak izbjeglica, prava nacionalnih manjina, osuda ratnih zločina, pravna država, poštenje i tolerancija neke osnovne civilizacijske stečevine koje moramo barem nominalno prepoznati kad već nemamo dovoljno dostojanstva da ih ustvari poštujemo. Bio bih ljut kao pas na ljude, prijatelje, susjede, pa čak i obitelj, za koje znam da su glasali za i podržavali lopove na vlasti koji su na očigled pljačkali državu i grad u kojem sam odrastao. Činili su to zato da bi se pokazali većim ‘Hrvatima’ od svojih prijatelja i susjeda i zato što su bili uvjereni da će im članstvo u jednoj političkoj stranci kleptomanske kulture donjeti osobnu dobit, posao ili povoljni kredit. Ono zbog čega sam doista bijesan je da su ti isti prijatelji i susjedi digli ruke od svega i u najboljoj hrvatskoj maniri jamrali kako im je teško, ali im nikad nije palo na pamet da izađu na izbore i glasaju za nekog drugog ili se, pazi sad, angažiraju u političkom i društvenom životu vlastite zajednice. Krivi su za te ponižavajuće pregovore baš kao i oni koji danas sjede u Remetincu i oni koji još tamo ne sjede, a trebali bi. Bio bih ljut na vlade koje su dozvolile da se ‘pregovori’ svode na naše klimanje glavom jer kako drugačije objasniti pristupni ugovor kao što je onaj kojeg možete pročitati na stranicama Vlade RH ako se samo udostojite kliknuti na ovaj link: http://goo.gl/lz6OK. Na mom putu prema glasačkom mjestu bio bih ljut i zbog toga što su me natjerali da se izjašnjavam o ugovoru kojeg su već potpisali u moje ime. Možemo zahvalit samo toj Europskoj uniji da NJIHOVA pravila ne dozvoljavaju takvo ponižavanje i omalovažavanje građana pa ipak imamo priliku glasati na referendumu. A bio bih ljut i na sadašnju vladu koja nije u stanju angažirati građane i stvoriti ozračje u kojem se rasprava o pristupu Europskoj uniji može voditi argumentima a ne deranjem i prijetnjama. Trenutna ministrica vanjskih poslova koja je ovaj referendum svela na običnu ucjenu jer o rezultatu ovog referenduma, kao, ovisi hrvatski kreditni rejting i umirovljeničke penzije bi se trebala ispričati građanima i barem ponuditi ostavku. Kao što bi rekli moji kanadski prijatelji, “I won’t hold my breath.”

Ljut ili ne, to sada više nema smisla jer na kraju ja ipak moram zaokružiti ZA ili PROTIV. LJUT jednostavno nije opcija.

Koji su argumenti PROTIV? Na žalost, ima ih puno. I, što je još žalosnije, u Hrvatskoj ne postoje euroskeptici koji bi o tome mogli govoriti na nekakv racionalan i pristojan način. Razlika između euroskeptika i eurofoba, ali i eurofila, je upravo racionalno razmišljanje. Euroskeptika možete uvjeriti argumentima i ustupcima. S eurofobom se ne može razgovarati jer je po definiciji njegov strah iracionalan baš kao što je eurofilovo zatvaranje očiju pred nepravednim i štetnim pristupnim ugovorm također iracionalno.

Ako pročitate pristupni ugovor i sami ćete vidjeti da ima puno toga što ne valja. U principu, bilo koja vlada koja želi napraviti pravu razvojnu politiku morat će to učiniti s jednom rukom zavezanom iza leđa. Na primjer, odredbe o zabrani sadnje novih vinograda i ukidanju malog ribarstva su u principu protuustavne jer vladi onemogućuju ispunjavanje 52. članka Ustava koji zahtjeva posebnu skrb o hrvatskim otocima. Pristupom EU podliježemo strogim proizvodnim i izvoznim kvotama i moramo ukinuti većinu poljoprivrednih i industrijskih subvencija. Da stvari budu gore, pristupni ugovor također kaže da ulaskom u EU mi istupamo iz svih regionalnih i bilateralnih ugovora o slobodnoj trgovini što znači da smo upravo pristali na to da si ograničimo pristup jedinom tržištu na kojem trenutno jesmo konkuretni kao što je to tržište jugoistočne Europe i zemalja bivše Jugoslavije.

Kad bih ja bio radnik, poljoprivrednik, ribar, ili kad bih radio u prehrambenoj industriji ili brodogradnji i glasao samo iz vlastitog interesa, morao bih glasati PROTIV. Pristupni ugovor nije morao biti takav kakv je, a na tome što je takav kakav je možete zahvalit gospodinu u kućnom pritvoru i gospođi s velikom crvenom torbom kao i svim ostalim zastupnicima i pregovaračima koji nisu znali i nisu htjeli ispregovarati pristupni ugovor koji bi bio pravedan i koristan za Hrvatsku.

Naravno postoje izvrsni argumenti ZA pristup Europskoj uniji. Pristupni fondovi, ako se pametno iskoriste, mogu pokrenuti hrvatsko gospodarstvo u novom i dobrom pravcu. Pravna stečevina i pristup europskim sudovima dodatna su garancija ljudskih i radničkih prava i zakona o zaštiti okoliša. Europski fondovi za znanost, kulturu i regionalnu suradnju bit će od izuzetne pomoći našim znanstvenicima, umjetnicima i raznim nevladinim udrugama koje se bave svime od kazališta i folklora do zaštite okoliša i ljudskih prava. Kad bih bio znanstvenik, umjetnik, profesor ili kao netko tko je zaposlen u bilo kojoj nevladinoj udruzi ili u tzv. kreativnim zanimanjima i gledao samo vlastiti interes, glasao bih ZA bez razmišljanja.

Sva ostala natlapanja kako ćemo sada moći studirati u Europi, kako ćemo moći otvarati tvrtke u Češkoj i putovati bez ikakvih problema po EU i kupovati nekretnine na Malti su obične gluposti – sve to možemo i sada. Mi i sada možemo napravit pametnu razvojnu politiku, i sada možemo reformirati školstvo i zdravstvo, i sada možemo kreirati progresivnu i humanu politiku prema manjinama, imigrantima, okolišu i bilo čemu drugom. Prema pravilima Europske Unije, sve odluke se ionako moraju donositi na najnižoj mogućoj instanci tako kao što sada moramo sami izorganizirati vlastitu budućnost, morat ćemo to isto napraviti i unutar Unije, ali u okviru ograničenog suvereniteta.

Dakle kad ja pogledam razloge ZA i PROTIV, da budem iskren, PROTIV je možda racionalno bolji izbor za većinu hrvatskih građana. Pristupni ugovor je loš i Hrvatska se ne bi smjela zadovoljit s mrvicama.

Međutim, postoji tu još nešto. Možda to zvuči naivno, ali ideja ujedinjene Europe je još uvijek ideal za koji se valja boriti. Usprkos korupciji, malograđanštini i primitivizmu europskih političara i nepoštenom i neokolonijalnom odnosu velikih europski država prema novim i malim članicama, ideja Europe kao zajednice ravnopravnih građana i naroda koji su odlučili zajednički sagraditi budućnost koja se temelji na njihovim različitostima je još uvijek svijetla civilizacijska točka na kontinentu koji je izazvao toliko zla i sukoba. Današnja Europa ima puno problema, od buđenja neo-nacizma i odnosa prema manjinama, posebno Romima, do nehumanog tretmana imigranata koji samo žele bolji zivot kao i svi mi. Usprkos svemu tome, ideja Europe je nešto za što ja osobno želim glasati. Ne želim biti protiv nečega u što duboko vjerujem samo zato što se mi nismo udostojili izabrati kompetentne i poštene ljude da nas vode kroz pristupne pregovore. Hrvatska je oduvijek bila, a i danas je dio europskog kulturnog i političkog prostora. Ja želim i dalje biti dio tog prostora jer mislim da pametnom politikom i regionalnom suradnjom s onim europskim partnerima koji se, kao i mi, moraju boriti protiv samovolje velikih, mi imamo priliku ne samo izgraditi bolju budućnost za sebe već, nadam se, ponuditi nešto i drugima. Da ja mogu glasati 22. siječnja, ja bih duboko udahnuo i glasao ZA. Hrvatska može osigurati budućnost svojim građanim i unutar i izvan Europske unije – to ovisi o nama samima. Na kraju će nam biti onako kako si sami napravimo, no mislim da će nam biti lakše ako imamo prijatelje s kojima možemo podjeliti i uspjehe i neuspjehe. Ugovor je nepravedan, ali je ipak samo to, slovo na papiru koje se može promjeniti i ispregovarati unutar unije. Ideja Europe je puno više od pristupnog ugovora i nešto za što vrijedi glasati.

The photo is from Vienna, Austria.

Road trip

Off on a family road trip. See you all on Tuesday…

Malta

Croatian word of the day: cesta road [tz es ta]

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Collectors

Over the last little bit, I have come across several projects where photographers sort of “collect” a large number of photographs with a single motif – very much along the lines of my holga corner stores collection. One of those supreme collectors is David from lowrevolution whose flickr stream is a real treasure trove of collections. I love his signage stuff such as this set called high street.

Another collection I just discovered is Stefan Fürtbauer’s set on Vienna diners. I particularly like his decision to photograph them at night creating these little islands of warmth, colour and light.

[UPDATE]: Also check out this fabulous collection of drive-by portraits by Andrew Bush.

Carriage driver in Vienna.

Croatian word of the day: kolekcija collection [coll ek tzi ya]

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Photo links

Photo links today.

Inge Morath award this year goes to Chinese photographer Zhe Chen. You can check her work on burn magazine [just a warning: some images are very disturbing].

John Stanmeyer wrote a very good blog post on what it’s like to work on National Geographic assignment today.

Jonas Yip is a photographer who I learnt about through Google+ and whose exhibit Paris Dialogues I would love to see. Unfortunately, it’s on the other side of the continent.

And, if you are in St. John’s, check out this class on photography history and appreciation offered through the Division of Life Long Learning at Memorial University.

And checkout this video on the making of Leica lenses:

Leica Lenses (English) from leica camera on Vimeo.

Vienna, Austria, and the carriage drivers around St. Stephen Cathedral.

Croatian word of the day: kočijaš carriege driver [ko chi yash]

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Summer schedule not so different from the rest of the year

How did my calendar get booked a week in advance and this is supposed to be the slow time of the year. Sigh… On a happier note, I started writing my thesis.

A boy runs through a fountain in Valletta, Malta.

Croatian word of the day: fontana fountain 

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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

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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]

 

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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]

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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

Muckety-mucks and Leica M9-P

Today, Leica Camera announced Leica M9-P, their cosmetically improved digital flagship M9. It’s beautiful. Just not $8,000 beautiful… However, at least they are getting them into the hands of real photographers. Here is Alex Majoli working with the new Leica in Venice.

In the photo is Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Just as I was taking this photo, a whole bunch of security officers who like to look like movie versions of American secret agents swarmed around the building in preparation for the arrival of, as my boss would say, muckety-muck with an inflated sense of importance.

Croatian word of the day: kazalište theatre [ka za li shte]

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Photo links…

The Guardian has recently ran an interesting set of short reflections from well-known documentary photographers and photojournalists about their colleagues whose images inspire them (h/t photojournalism links).

I always liked photography and I do remember reading a book about photography that my dad had. I knew absolutely nothing about documentary photography until I took my first photojournalism class in college. Even that encounter with the documentary photography and in-depth photojournalism was almost accidental. As an assignment in that class, we had to pick a photographer and write an essay about him or her. No names came to mind so I went to Calgary public library which had a rather decent photography section and started browsing through the books. I stopped when I picked up a book of photographs by Werner Bischof. I still love his work. When I think back to that essay, it really was an eyeopening experience. Today, I have dozens of photographers whose work I admire and photographs I really love. Here are some of them:

Larry Towel’s photograph of a baby sleeping among the cucumbers from The Mennonites still makes me smile every time I see it. I carried the Canadian Geographic with that photo on the cover for years with me and through many moves, but I am afraid that now it is truly lost.

Bruno Barbey’s The Italians is one of my favourite books that I still find inspiration in.

Jean Gaumy’s Man at Sea is another amazing book I keep coming back to over and over again.

And lately, remarkable work by Reza Deghati has been something I have been coming back to as well.

A typical street on Vis island in Croatia.

Croatian word of the day: učitelji teachers [u chi te lyi]

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