Sketches of Iron and Dust

This is a story (sketches from stories) that I was preparing for a Fotopub Festival in Slovenia on which unfortunately I didn’t go. I left this story aside but few weeks ago, I decided to finish it.

I was inspired by Mike, Rebecca and Borut and realized that photofilms are something where I can exploit myself full time. As I’m professional musician, expression of sound is something very familiar to me. Combining photography with sound is something I found to be close to me and hopefully you will see it and hear it too.

Long story – short – Ljubija is a small town in north western part of Bosnia. Once cultural and social center of region, strongly dependable of nearby iron mine. Once iron was exploited – Ljubija was left and forgotten. Those are sketches and emotions of Ljubija inhabitants – Cicko, Bodo and Mladen.

Photography – Igor Motl

Original music – Igor Motl

Edit and production – Igor Motl

A Gym

Just a few meters away from my apartment, ticket office of city stadium. Nothing much. Three small windows, a few steel bars and dirty concrete wall. It wouldn’t be unusual, if it’s purpose  is just selling tickets. No!!! A guy named Petar, started to practice his muscles and his body some ten years ago. Location was great – in the city center but isolated from the city rush, cheap – nobody asked for monthly fee, and finally – tough enough to outstand the weight of a human body. Petar started something that outgrow far from personal practice. People started coming around and in few years – community was formed. Musicians, high school students,  workers, sportsmen, physical enthusiasts… everybody was working out at “a gym”. Even young kids are practicing in secret while steel bars are “free”.

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P.S. For those people who are interested in technical part of this – all images made with Panasonic Lumix GF1 camera – JPGs straight from camera.

Great expectations

Novak ĐokovićRoger Federer, Roland Garros 2011, 1-3

Novak’s career is followed by whole world recently but specially in Serbia and Serbian part of Bosnia. He became national pride and a release valve for all the lost battles. His matches are watched at home as well as at city squares and bars. Men, women, youngsters, old people – everybody was watching with excitement for new dash in a row.

He lost a match against Roger, but for the first time, nation didn’t judged him because of that (Serbian nation has a short memory and easily can forget about a great success just because a moment of weakness). Somehow, all the nation felt released from all the pressure that was hovering above.

Here is a glimpse at the night when Novak failed to became world’s no.1 (for now).


Springtime links

Last year, I tried to keep this kind of posts regular but I didn’t. Why? – I don’t know. There is always some stuff I would like to share with someone and here it is – the most interesting ones:

In case you don’t know about this – go check it out – very worth a look – 500photographers

Vladimir Vasilev made a good photo essay over Burn magazine – Life in concrete

Yanko Design is an interesting place – maybe someone will find some inspiration.

An at the end –  a short documentary made by young director from my home town – Prijedor – Jelena Topić.

A film about tradition and… judge for yourself!

SANA springs protest

Sana is a river that flows through north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s 146km long and flows through cities of Ključ, Sanski Most, Prijedor and Novi Grad where it merges with river Una.

Yesterday, a Coalition for river Sana organized a protest meeting at Sana springs at the same place where a company from Banja Luka “LSB Elektrane” is trying to build a dam for a new hydro power plant of 4,9 MW capacity. Location of Sana springs is truly remote place some 120 km from Prijedor and not easily accessible.

Some 100 people get together on a meeting place and protested against building a dam. A several TV crews were there, organizers had their speeches, a few locals told their stories and that was it. There were no machinery or any kind of building sings except a road and some wooden boards at the place.
What are the consequences of building a dam over there:
– destroying a natural spring by making a accumulative lake (if you ask me – it is good enough reason to say it is a stupid and extremely destructive idea)
– making that water undrinkable
– because of the water tunnel that would provide enough trust to the turbines they (LSB Elektrane) are planing to drain river bottom in lenght of 3 km
– extreme influence on natural environment (cutting the forest and draining a river) will also cause an extreme outcome in the region itself
– and the most important thing – this country already export electricity and by the price much cheaper than for their own citizens (so what is the point of a small power plant in the middle of nowhere with the capacity for powering an oven).
So… what about that protest – do I think it will change something? No I don’t! With a just a bunch of people it looked like a bigger picnic. Would it be different if there were thousands of people? Then, I would be more optimistic.
Shame on you – people of Ključ, Sanski Most and Prijedor. Municipalities that counts a few hundreds of thousands of people couldn’t getter a few thousands of them. And some day, when you bring your children for a swimming on Sana river – don’t be surprised if Sana is dirty and smelly or if there is no Sana at all. Don’t be surprised but ask yourself – was there a chance to do something and why were you such a indifferent fool.
And one more thing… is there anyone who could provide the public with some informations about “LSB Elektrane”. Even the mighty Google don’t know anything about it.
It wouldn’t surprise me if it is a phantom company or if the owner is someone from the political center.
So… let me repeat again – if you are ready to submerge a natural spring of drinking water in a time when drinking water is considered as a sufficient good – what to expect from you in some less important stuff.

P.S. There is one more story but I will write on it some other time. For now – just a illustration:

DULE – a boy with a smile

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Unfortunately, Bosnian society is still very stigmatized when it comes to a theme of children with special needs and children with mental disorders. I went to a special school with an idea to show the energy and sensibility of the children and people who work with them, juxtaposed with a conditions they are dealing with. Initially, I’ve got a permit to photograph but in a few hours I was told that maybe it is not a good idea and not to do it anymore  (opinion of a special school director). I was disappointed and frustrated why people are so narrow-minded and suspicious.

Dule is a ten year old boy who caught my attention from the moment he entered a training room. First thing I noticed was that great and  affectioned smile. He came to ask me who am I and to tell me his name and went to play. I was petrified. I was expecting anything but this. I thought that they will be shy, closed, unreachable (and there are some kids that are very into their worlds), but that huge smile totally disarmed me.

I tried to be as much as unnoticed as I can be and leave them to do their therapy. But Dule was intrigued by my camera and I gave it to him. That huge smile he has all the time on his face became colossal. He was overwhelmed by the fact that he can capture a moment that stays forever in some strange box. With each picture he took, energy was stronger in that room. And just a few clicks after, everybody was smiling.

I would like to thank Žarko and Zorica who showed me a world that need to be showed and understood, and thank you Dule for making me smiling so sincere. I’ll be back there for sure. Somehow I’ll find a way.

Fish pond story – teaser

sanicani I-2

sanicani I-8

sanicani I-11

sanicani I-15

sanicani I-16

Fish pond Saničani, near Prijedor. They are extracting all the fish from all lakes and transferring them in to winter ponds or on market. I will cover it for several days. These photos I took today. I was amazed when I heard that they extract up to 22 tons of fish from one net – same net that I shot them with today.
More to come.

La corrida – Bosnian way


Traditional Bosnian bull fight. Tradition that is more then 200 years old and mostly characteristics for western and north western part of Bosnia. Most famous place is mountain Grmeč. I went today at Oštra Luka, Popovića Brdo that is taking place every year, first Sunday in august. I wanted to shoot it last year, but it was on my marriage day so… 🙂

It is whole day event with a lot of tents with live folk music, fresh cooked meals, cold drinks… Bull fighting lasts only for an hour or a bit longer but there are traditional games and events that fulfill the day. Throwing rocks from shoulder and pulling the rope.

5am book by Borut Peterlin

Borut Peterlin – Slovenian photographer has a new book called 5am which is possible to purchase over I know Borut for some time and we were discussing about his 5am project for few times and I saw just a small amount of pictures that he took on his long term personal project. It was just hard for me to visualize it as a concept but right now, after I saw his book (not real book but over Blurb and his web site here – and I will buy this book for sure) I’m amazed of how powerful it really is.

He captured that strange time of night/day with mixture of humor, empathy and with a great sense for dramatization. Well done Borut!!!


Click on image to view 5am gallery on Borut’s web site.

CLICK HERE to buy his book over Blurb

Samarice – a Horse story

Samarice -horses who are carrying a cargo saddle, mostly used for carrying woods.

Yesterday, I followed them through their working day. Family Ritan from small village beneath Kozara mountain. There are four brothers and 30 horses. They work every day, starting at 6:30 am until 4:00 pm. Only very hard rain or extreme cold day could stop them to go in to forest. Their job is to hoist all the woods that cutters took down few days before. Most of these woods are in rough terrain so no conventional transportation method is possible. Horses are carrying woods from forest to the nearest road that is accessible by some truck or other heavy vehicle. Heavy job for both human and horse. Fascinating scene was to see a caravan that rub through snow and mud carrying big pile of heavy and wet pieces of woods. Horses are going through a forest on their own. Humans are there to load and unload their cargo, but from loading to unloading site their are without any help by the humans. Sometimes they are going in pair, sometimes alone and everything you can hear through forest is horse neighing.

Please click on this image to see full story or just click HERE

Samarice full story 40 images

Many thanks to Mr. Simo Brdar whose documentary film “Samarice” was a inspiration to me and who helped me to contact family Ritan.

Samarice preview

samarice preview

I did a great story today about a family who works in a forest with 30 horses carrying wood that is unreachable for conventional transportation. Great story, great people, magnificent animals.
I would like to share this story here on my blog, but there are too many photos and I would like to make simple and clean slide show.
I love Flickr embeddable slide show but it can’t be integrated here because WordPress doesn’t support Java or Flash.
So, I would be grateful if someone out there could suggest me something.
Soon as I find out how to present it, I will tell the story and I will show some pictures.
More to come.