What photographers say about Belgrade Photo Month
In April 2016 the Belgrade Photo Month will be held for the first time. From my personal experience as Managing Director of Eyes On – Month of Photography Wienna I can say that over the years such an event will evolve a huge interest from participating photographers and artists as well as from the local audience.
European Month of Photography (EMoP) is a network established by the Cities of Berlin, Paris and Vienna in 2004, which today represents photography festivals in eight European capitals. One of the main goals of this network is to develop a common exhibition every two years, usually including artists from the respective countries. So far five such exhibitions have been produced and presented under the patronage of the Mayors in the frame of each cities festival.
We encourage public and private institutions to support this great project, and look forward to welcome Belgrade as a new member of EMoP in the near future.
Thomas Licek – Managing Director of Eyes On – Month of Photography Wienna and President of Association of European Month of Photography (EMoP)
Belgrade is still one of the most exciting destinations in the Balkan region, despite a decade of crisis that has slowed down the development of the capital city. The specific energy present in this city attracts people from all over the world, although the touristic potential is not used as much as it could be, particularly the specific culture present in the city and the art scene. The very popular tourist destinations of the world realized a long time ago that today’s tourist does not expect just good entertainment, but also quality cultural content that leaves a deep mark in their personal experience and creates a long term relationship with the visited place.
As one of the youngest art disciplines photography is adaptable to all of the changes occurring within society and technology, so today photography has become a widespread art discipline all over the world. The use of the photograph is far beyond the sphere of art and has become an inevitable part of our everyday life. First of all, photography attracts young people who are searching for their own form of expression and positioning within the society in which they live. Also photography is a powerful medium for social engagement, criticism and engaged thought generally.
Unfortunately, on the cultural scale in Serbia and Belgrade, photography is not considered to be on a high level within the arts and still falls under the shadow of classic art such as music, painting, graphics and sculpture. This festival of photography is a chance to determine and secure the position of photography in the cultural scene of Belgrade and Serbia. This would direct the attention of both the local public and foreign visitors to this interesting and dynamic medium, the transformation of which happens faster than in any other art discipline.
The festival of photography would engage numerous cultural institutions such as cultural centers, galleries, schools, as well as individuals who will promote and advance photography: curators, critics, writers and lecturers. Numerous artists, particularly the younger generation, will get a chance to show their work in public locations, while already established artists will secure a high level of quality as would be expected from such a festival. The specificity of the region in which we live, with the frequent collision of cultures during historical turmoil, leaves a deep mark on artistic production and photographers are no exception to this influence.
Because of globalization, authenticity has become exclusive; the hunger for specific cultural expression is increasing. On one hand, the isolation of Belgrade from the cultural world scene is very bad because it disables the development of an art market, but on the other hand it helps to keeps the authentic art expression of this region. Belgrade Photo Month will enable the coherence of this specific expression and its representation to the region generally. This could produce the photographic market necessary for this region.
Ivana Tomanović MA – Associate Professor AUNS and ReFoto magazine executive editor
The need for a festival like this is a cultural rising of urban society, with visual and art awareness in Serbia being at a low level. This is partly due to photography, possibly the the richest art discipline of the 21st century, being almost invisible in the context of art in schools and not to mention its value in terms of a national treasure!
Djordje Odanovic – Professor at the Academy of Arts, Novi Sad
Belgrade Photo Month is a festival that would gather together a large number of photographers and photography enthusiasts. Nowadays, when technology is very much developed and has become accessible to almost everyone, more and more people are engaging in photography. Everyday life is being documented with photography, from the capturing of an interesting moment with a mobile phone, to very serious artistic photographs.
For this reason, I think that it is necessary to organise a festival like this and to raise the awareness of photography to a higher level. Photography is not just a memory from vacations or family celebrations; it is a document of the times in which we are living. It appears in seconds but remains as a document of time, whose detail in the corner can initiate an avalanche of ideas and information.
This media itself is the most compact and fastest way for the transfer of information, presenting the most details about the material, motif, emotions of the subject and of the author as well. Because of modern technology a large number of photographs are presented to us on a daily basis, that is why it is necessary to educate a person to read the image, select and create their personal criterion.
Organizing photography workshops gives a chance for the exchange of experiences and ideas, cooperation among young photographers, an opportunity to learn something new and to experiment using old techniques in a new and creative way.
Nebojša Babić – Photographer, Director of O3one gallery, member of ULUPUDS, USUF, PPof-E i SAM
In a relatively short time, the Bartcelona Concept Gallery, located within Belgrade Design District in Čumićevo Sokače, has become a notable exhibition space and meeting place for photographers and artists.
Bartcelona presents a multitude of local and foreign artists which are, within the carefully designed selection and presentation of exhibited photos, refreshing the local photography scene.
With his professional manner in running the gallery and his enthusiasm for photography, David Pujado has become the guarantee for quality and original exhibitions at Bartcelona Concept Gallery.
I regularly recommend my colleagues, students and friends to visit and see the photography exhibitions at this small and already well known Belgrade gallery.
The idea of David Pujado being able to organise the Belgrade Photo Month seemed almost impossible due the local cultural conditions. However, he has devoted himself to the job consistently and systematically, gathering more and more supporters for this idea along the way. Personally, I will gladly support the team preparing Belgrade Photo Month and I hope that a number of institutions will also support the festival and help to organise and realise this festival of photography in our city.
Dragan Pavlović DOC, MA – Photographer, member of ULUPUDS and lecturer at Singidunum University for media and communications
Over twenty years ago started one of the most dynamic and productive periods in the development and history of photography. This is noticeable not only in the presence of photography in the press and media, but above all in intensive art production, numerous exhibitions, photography galleries, artists with different approaches, lectures, seminars, conferences and the appearance of new views on photography. The first festival of photography was launched in Arles, 45 years ago, as a meeting place for photographers and enthusiasts. At the beginning of the Seventies in the 20th century, another important international photo festival was established, Paris Photo. Today there is more than one hundred photo festivals worldwide, confirmation of the important role for this media in art, culture and society nowadays.
Apart from Festival Photonic Moment held in Slovenia, only a few small photography festivals exist in Serbia and the Balkan region. Belgrade Photo Month will be the first large festival to be staged here. The main goal of the festival is a validation of photography with analysis, consideration, presentation of photography, artists of different generations and actual production techniques. At the same time, the festival aims to present various national photographic and art scenes to an international audience and vice versa. By including photographers, artists, curators, art historians and theoreticians, media, as well as art, cultural and other public institutions in the city, Belgrade Photo Month can contribute not only to the contemporary history of photography, but also to the art and cultural scene in Serbia and beyond.
Jelena Matic MA – Art and media theoretician and art historian