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

Daylight long exposure

For some time I’m trying to find a way to make some daylight long exposure shots. I know some photographers are using several ND filters attached together but good ND filters are not cheap and it is a little bit hard to get some here where I live. Another problem was what camera to use. Digital is standard today and results are visible right away but overheating a sensor is serious problem (digital sensors are generating heat when taking long exposure shots). Analog is much safer but again, if you make some wrong calculations, whole role of film could be ruined (and it is truly hard to find decent laboratory these days who will develop it the way you want it). And then recently, I was talking about it with my friend Borut and it came to me that I could try to use a welding glass as a truly strong ND filter.

First, I used my GF1 camera to determine the strength of a welding glass (light sensitivity). I calculated it is a 15 stop filter equivalent.

My intention was to use it on a Canon AE1 program camera with 28mm lens and to shoot some cityscapes  – 32 minutes exposures and more – so it would be possible to eliminate all the movement in a scene or to create some abstraction with very crowded places. My test roll was terrible. I realized that all the positions from where I was shooting were “contaminated” with reflections from different shiny objects (car windows, wrist watches on someones hand, sun glasses…). All the shots were overexposed but partially. Something like light stains. I dropped the idea ’cause I need something less complicated.

Then, I tried again with GF1 camera with a intention to make one long exposure and then to leave a camera to cool down. I intended to make 32 minutes exposure but very soon I find out that GF1 camera has a safety feature to limit the length of a exposure to 256 seconds.   I couldn’t find any info about the camera feature but I would like to believe it is it. 🙂 (Let me know if you know anything about it).

So, 256 sec exposure became my new obsession. It is long enough to eliminate or wipe out the movement out of frame but short enough to have time to make some corrections if needed without a “moment” lost. Next month I’ll be traveling to Vienna, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest and it will be a good opportunity to make interesting series (I hope).

Of course, welding glass is green so I was thinking black&white but once I saw a green result I felt in love with it. It has some apocalyptic note that gives it additional drama.

Look for yourself:

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.

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.