“Beauty is something you constantly have to disclose.”
Damir Matijevic (born 1970) is a contemporary photographer from Croatia.
“You can literally feel the energy that permeates you. You become spiritually aware. Any good photograph carries this energy or how I would call it: melody of light and soul.”
Interview with Damir Matijevic
Damir, you say that photography for you is “a melody of light and soul”. What do you mean by that?
Talking about photography we say that it is “the art of drawing with light”.
Since the light is source and power of photography, when you come into contact with what you are photographing your picture is born as a “melody within the soul”.
That is permeating the outer and inner world.
You can literally feel the energy that permeates you. You become spiritually aware.
Any good photograph carries this energy or how I would call it: melody of light and soul.
Roland Barthes called it “punctum” – what comes out of photos, the thing which hit the observer’s eye.
How do you visually translate your vision of photography into your actual images?
“I just want the observers to share my emotions.”
Photographs must be clean and simple. Without too much details.
Photographs must have something that excites or calms.
Anyone who looks at the photo, looking for something their own, and then discovers what the photographer singled. I just want the observers to share my emotions. If in their hearts or heads start something, I’m happy.
You have a strong preference for monochrome. Why?
Black and white photos leave observers greater freedom to form their own opinion or interpretation of the images and emotions in it.
Color distracts too much from the essential-inner.
What comes first: The idea for a project or the image that gets things started?
Basically the idea first came about a project. But the path from an idea to the realization of a project can be both fast and slow. Depends on many factors.
Do you think it’s possible as a photographer to still be unique these days? Or do you rather consider it to be more important to create an own style adding your personal twist to something that has already been done before?
“…to capture everyday places as if we’ve seen them for the very first time.”
Yes, today there are countless photographers, mostly everything has already been photographed.
But that also recognizes the power of the photographer, to capture everyday places as if we’ve seen them for the very first time.
Also the quality of the photographer shows when he starts to work on a project or series.
Then we will see all: style, vision, balance, quality, and maturity.
What reaction do you intend to provoke in people looking at you photos?
This question is related to the previous one.
“I want to raise awareness of the transience of the moment and have more to enjoy the beauty of the world.”
Thus, I am not of those who follow the trends in photography. I work exclusively for myself. If it pleases someone, then it will be to our mutual satisfaction.
I love classical picture, it is for me something that will always be equally appreciated. Time will show all.
The most important thing is that the person who creates photographs must enjoy what he is doing. Everything else is a waste of time.
I want to show the beauty of the world in which we live. I want to raise awareness of the transience of the moment and have more to enjoy the beauty of the world.
Beauty is something you constantly have to disclose. It does not matter whether it is a man, nature or unimportant details.
One general question: What do you consider the most important developments in contemporary photography? And what have been the greatest changes recently?
Contemporary photographs only work through a series of photos.
There are a very interesting works. I leave this question to those who can do it better than me.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve recently been working on a series of photographs of my town Zagreb, named “Zagreb by Night” which was exposed at the end of the April in a gallery in Zagreb.
The idea was born by accident, flipping through a monograph of Brassai – “Paris by Night”.
Zagreb is a much smaller city than Paris, but has its own soul. It was built at the same time as Prague, Budapest, and Vienna.
Every photographer is going through different stages in his formation. Which “landmarks” do you recall that have marked you and brought you to the place where you are today as a photographer?
It happened. Basically a lot of work and being self-critical.
Maybe it was the moment when I rejected a digital camera and started using only analog.
These are two different worlds.
Analog photography for me is a lot slower and calmer. I love when I see the photographs I took a few months later.
Last but not least, let’s switch roles: Which question would you have liked to be asked in this interview about your work that I didn’t ask? Please feel free to add it – as well as the answer.
Thanks, I like more to express myself through photography.
Thank you for this interview – and I wish you all the best in your future work!