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Svetlana Dojcinovic is a Serbian Documentary Photographer. She has been a photographer for UNICEF and several press companies and has worked with vulnerable social groups.
"Be humble and respectful, and never forget the true power of images."
Svetlana Dojcinovic is a Serbian Documentary Photographer. Traveling in more than 100 countries gave her the necessary experience to work in challenging environments. She has been a photographer for UNICEF and several press companies and has worked with vulnerable social groups.
We had the chance to make an interview with her and learn more about her work.
Tell us a few things about yourself and your work. How did you get involved in photography and why did you specifically choose documentary photography?
I am a documentary photographer born and based in Belgrade, Serbia. Through my lens, I explore social issues and conflicts, focussing on women’s problems in conflict and post-conflict zones. During my travels, I’ve started with portraits, loving the diversity of beauty in the world. That inspired me to continue photographing. I am so blessed to be able to see 100 world countries.
How did your studies in sociology affect your photographic style?
Sociology directed me to documentary photography and made me go deeper into the social problems we are struggling with. While working on my thesis, I’ve started doing interviews with women in post-conflict and conflict zones. Degradation of humanity is present in countries affected by conflicts and war. This long-term project shows the darkness counting in our very existence and a destructive influence of social conflicts on women, but respects their great strength, thirst for life, sublimated in their will to survive.
What is the most difficult part of being a woman documentary photographer?
I believe it is the same as being a man documentary photographer, and for me, that is not being able to help or bring change to the ones in need.
Robert Frank said: “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice”. What is your opinion?
Inspire people for a positive change would be my answer.
„The value of beauty lies in the infinite variety of species in which it occurs to us. Therein lies both it’s ennobling power and its greatest charm,”
said Ivo Andric, a Yugoslav novelist. We all need to remember the beauty and love are all around and inside of us, only if we open our hearts.
What is one thing you hope people would receive after getting in touch with your work? Do you think that people are emotionally or socially affected?
It is a principal for the viewers to be informed about an event or an issue, it is important to raise public awareness.
Many people believe that good photography triggers symptoms in the viewer’s gut. What is your opinion?
When you see a good picture, it should instantly send the message, you feel it, understand it and simply know it is good.
What is your opinion about morality in photography? Are there unwritten moral rules? Is the photographer allowed to capture people in a “bad state” or without their permission?
The ethical issues are important, photographers shouldn’t do ad libitum. So many people use their cameras daily, and photography is more popular than ever before. It is crucial to prepare for the country you are visiting and be responsible, learn about their tradition, regulations. A documentary photographer has to know the cultural values of his subjects and respect them. Culturally sensitive pictures should not be done without the permission and a photographer must respect the subjects’ right to privacy.
Taking photographs concerning human rights issues must be demanding. What obligations do you feel you have as a photographer?
It is important to treat all subjects with respect and dignity and to avoid stereotypes, generalizations. Be compassionate and honest to your subjects, your audience, and lastly, to yourself.
What do you advise young photographers who want to engage in covering human rights projects?
Be humble and respectful, and never forget the true power of images, as photography can truly shape our world.
Would you like to share with us any future projects that you are anticipating?
The power of darkness is a developing project and my unworthy homage to all the brave women in conflict and war zones.
All photos belongs to @Svetlana Dojcinovic