Darko Stanimirović Belgrade, Serbia
Born in 1983. in Serbia, Darko studied photography at Faculty of Applied Arts, in Belgrade. In 2009. he founded a photo collective Belgrade Raw, together with five other photographers. In 2013, Belgrade Raw was invited to curate the whole season of exhibitions in Artget, the most prominent photo gallery in Serbia. Darko was executive editor of regional photo magazine Refoto in period between 2012 and 2013. With his series Gazela Youngsters he was invited to exhibit at Monotrentuno III, a contemporary European photography festival in Sardinia.
Darko Stanimirović was chosen by Siniša Glogoški
Laatikkomo’s interview with Darko Stanimirovć February 3rd, 2014.
L: Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places/cultures have influenced you?
DS: I’m from Belgrade, Serbia. I never spent much time outside of Serbia, but would love to travel more, especially in the east.
L: What is your earliest memory of photography?
DS: My dad was an amateur photographer, I think I remember him taking photos of my brother and myself when we were kids. Later, he tried to teach us the basics of operating his Zorki camera. I wasn’t impressed, my brother even less. Though, it was a bit fun seeing the two images overlap when you focus (on a rangefinder). I liked that.
L: Your photographs are carefully composed: the subject, instant, colour, geometric composition, etc. How do you first envision your image (in planes of colour, geometric form, the action, the feeling, the light, the subject?)?
DS: I think this changes. For this series, I was more precise, so to say, than for the rest of my work. I was shooting with Pentax 67 on a tripod, measured exposure using handheld light meter. That whole setup slow you down, which I liked a lot. The first roll of film was a disaster. (as my digital photography habits were interfering) So I started paying more attention to the setting and also to communicating with the subjects. I only took one or two photos of each subject. Usually I’d find someone interesting and then find a place nearby where I’d photograph them. I’m not sure what I would do first, but light is always important, and this late August gave some amazing light.
L: Many of your images project a lonely feeling, it might be the frozen moment in time, isolated from its context, but also in the subjects of some of your image series such as “Don” in which your own mother is isolated through her illness, or in your images of the Roma who are a socially/politically isolated group of people. Is loneliness or isolation a feeling you are interested in exploring through your work?
DS: It’s not a strict theme of all of my work, but in the past two or so years, I’ve been trying to figure out how to photograph these states of aloness and loneliness, which isn’t the same but sometimes does come close together.
L: I am guessing that you were still quite young during the war which split-up former Yugoslavia. What kind of memory do you have of the war? And how do you think it has affected the way, how or what you photograph today?
DS: I don’t remember much. While I knew of the war a little bit, being a kid in that time in Belgrade, which is still far from the frontlines, I only felt desparate economic situation. For one New Year’s eve, my brother and I got a bag of oranges as a present. I remember these things, but I don’t think they influenced my photography directly. They’re probably just sitting there somewhere.
L: ou are photographing normal, everyday scenes and situations which boarders on documentary photography. Street-photography is a popular term used today to describe everyday sightings on the street. How do you see your work?
DS: I can’t imagine doing one kind of photography or one style. I love shooting on the streets, in public, but I’m also exploring ways to photograph things that don’t happen in public and are, in fact, things you’re supposed to keep away from the public. You’re not supposed to feel alone, travel alone, drink alone or go out alone. I’m interested in these, but I don’t think I’ve found a way to photograph it, yet.
L: Could you list a few words that you were thinking about when you made this work?
DS: Beauty, community, necessity perhaps.
L: Apart from your own photography, you are also extremely active and involved in promoting photography in Belgrade (you are a founder of the Belgrade Raw photography network). How would you describe the current photography scene in Serbia? (What is trendy, what needs improvement…)
DS: As a rather small scene, it’s difficult to talk about trends. In the past few years, a number of things have been happening which I think awoke the scene, but without greater state support, for culture in general, it’s difficult to talk about major improvements. Still, it’s good to see photographers collaborating, exhibiting and working to improve the whole scene.
Thank you so much Darko!