New approach to theater photography

For last two months I’ve been working with director from Prijedor city theater Darko Cvijetic on a new play called “Phoenician women, materials”. It is experimental kind of play at least for Prijedor’s theater. It is a concept, without predefined monologues or dialogues. Play about women, suffered from war (any war) and by its aftermaths. Five stories about women who have lost a brother, who were raped, who gave birth to a warrior, who  played for a soldiers, who are searching for a grave, who are waiting in vain…

“Phoenician women” by Euripides was taken just as a idea not as a background. But if you search just a little bit about Theban war and stories about king Oedipus you will find out that no war is different no matter if it is some mythical ancient war or some modern Bosnian, Syrian, Ukrainian or who knows which war.

Here in Bosnia, even 20 years after the war, people are still unsettled and restless. PTSD is in its full potential and no category is exempt. We are society of destroyed marriages, youth grown up without fathers, abandoned children. Violence on women and children is more present then ever. And many wounds are still unhealed… But nobody is taking care about it. It is like a taboo in a society burdened by national identity, criminal privatization, stale democracy and trash culture.

My series of five portraits “Theban women” started as a side project but became a significant part of a story and visualisation of a play itself.

This is my ode to women:

Mirela/Antigone
Tatjana/Mistress
Tatjana/Mistress
Phoenician women_Wife-7
Sabina/Wife
Jelena/Helene
Jelena/Helene
Zlata/Jocasta
Zlata/Jocasta

For a play itself, I made 5 photo essays or 5 photo stories trying to correspond with each story but not in an obvious way. My storytelling is not narrative and banal. My intention was not to show anything that actress will already do or say but to amplify emotions. It is hard to paraphrase the play. Hopefully, in a few days, there will be a full video of “Phoenician women, materials” online and I will be able  to post a link here so you could see for yourself.

Here are my photo-essays. Each video is minute and few seconds long.

All portraits and all images in photo essays are made with Fujifilm XPro1 camera and XF35mm f1.4 lens.

Djelidba by Skender Kulenović

New play by Prijedor city theater – Djelidba (not sure about translation, but I believe the most closest word would be “dividing”) by famous Bosnian writer Skender Kulenović, directed by young Marko Misirača.

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

Final touch…

Still working on a theater play “Forever and a day” by Milorad Pavić – directed by Gradimir Gojer. There are few more days left until premiere night so tension is high and work is hard as never before. This is the last set of photos for this piece.

No more visas for BiH!!!

I read about it a couple hours ago. From December the 15th, citizens of BiH and Albania will travel without visas for countries in EU.
What does it mean?
No more complicated documents and forms for embassies!
No more humiliation in cues in front of the embassies!
No more traveling to embassy for several times just to confirm you brought all the documents!
No more uncertainty will my visa be granted or not!
No more paying for visa!
No more ISOLATION!!!
Ok, custom officers have a permit not to let me in EU, but that is nothing comparing to all things I mentioned above.
Probably, most of the people (at least in BiH) don’t have money to travel around but only the sensation that one is free to go where ever you imagine (almost) is good enough for suffered souls.
It brings more opportunities, to see and to be seen, to learn and many, many more.
Few days ago, pigeons stayed on my window longer then usual. (Usually, they just crap on my window and go). Somehow, they were unafraid and intrigued of what is going on in my apartment as well as I was intrigued why don’t they fly away as usual when I’m standing below (I have roof windows). So… my natural reaction was to grab a camera and to shoot. It lasts for several minutes but pigeons were posing like they were aware of me taking some photos.
It has some symbolic meaning to me while I was expecting this decision about visas. It’s a cliche and I’m maybe too euphoric about it but now… free as a bird… (ok, not yet… but from 15th of December) 🙂

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Friday night in PD

Exhibition opened. It was rainy Friday night. If you have  chance, come and visit it until 25th of August in Prijedor city Gallery 96. Thank you all who came!!!

Special thanks to: Dejan Dejanović, Dino Mrkalj, Radenko Marin and Tiho Ilijašević

All photos below by Dragana Motl.

Exhibition tonight at 8:30pm

Everything is set to go so I’m using this opportunity to call all of you who are somewhere near to come tonight to Prijedor city Gallery 96. Opening is set for 8:30 pm and exhibition will last until 25th of August.

Final City Portrait

This is my first group portrait in City Portraits series and in the same time last one in the same series. On the picture is DUU MANIFEST.

Once again, exhibition will take place in Prijedor city Gallery 96 on 30th of July 2010 and will last for a month. So, wherever you are, I believe you will find time to come to see it.

If you are interested in technical stuff about the photo, here it is:

This is not composite photo. It is one exposure of 61 sec. where I was running around all these people, lighting them with two small strobes from my hand (why two strobes? – I used them alternately because of the charging time).   F stop was 8 because I find it ideal for the power of my strobes but also good enough for some decent depth of field.

Short Spring Report

sanicani may-4
I’ve been away from my blog for some time. I have a lot of work to show but no time do it. Currently, I’m waiting for some more info about my possible exhibition at the end of May in Gallery 96. Also, I’m preparing a new story where I will try to resurrect a small mountain town, that has been abandoned some 40 years ago. Still working on a fish pond calendar for next year and here are some photos from few days ago.
Mtk.
sanicani may

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City portrait #20 – Jelena Maksimović

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I know Jelena for more then 15 years and ever since, she was ambitious and successful as she is today. She has a degree in Communications and mass media and works in city municipality as independent consultant for culture. She has been volunteering for long period of time and for several non governmental associations. While she was involved with “Sanus” organization (environmental protection association), she started a project for getting professional equipment for demo studio so young musicians from Prijedor region could record there.
So, therefore a portrait inside that same studio.

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This is a two light setup. One light on camera right with small softbox and other bare light behind model. Studio is quite small so I had to be careful about unwanted reflections from musical instruments and bright ceiling. I like the texture that sound dumpers created. Good thing in such small room is that no ambient light is involved and you don’t have to worry about balancing it with your strobes. All control comes from amount of light from your strobes and your aperture value. Here… strobes are on half power, f7.1 and with shutter speed of 1/200. Because I didn’t have enough space to clean up the room, some of the instruments were covered with black canvas and those with most reflective surfaces were positioned behind me.

City portrait #19 – Rade Stupar

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Rade Stupar – an actor. Oldest active actor in Prijedor city theater (although – retired officially). He played over thirty different characters in his career in several hundreds of shows. Very calm and pleasant person as well as expressive actor.
I imagine this portrait as a symbol to theater and that is why to faces on both sides of a photo. Tragedy and comedy. I put two lights setup on both sides of a subject and without any light modifier to gain a dramatic face expression. Put my camera to synchronize flashes on first curtain and through 30 seconds exposure we did two “side” faces that I lit up with small led torch (6 seconds each). Photo is taken in pitch dark so I needed some orientation points for subject where to stand. I used even smaller led torches on the flour.

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I’m still here!!!

It’s been awhile since my last post. There are several reasons. Cold and snowy winter prevented me to do some shooting that I planed earlier and also, I’m working on several new series that I’m planing to do in next few months.

Things with “City portrait” series are slowed down a bit but I hope it will be different and changed in next few days.

Almost all the preparations are done and I will start with new series on Monday. I can not tell you what is it about yet because it is something completely new and very challenging for me. Also, concerning these new stuff, I’ll wait with posting it until it is finished, but I’ll continue with posts on other things.