by Editor Yvette Depaepe
Like any other photographer who pursues art, Goran Jovic tries to bring something personal to every photo he takes. His personal vision is that photography is an open space, in which there are constantly new opportunities to explore it deeper.
Goran quotes: “Photography is a bit of art, science and story-telling. My photographic vision includes all of it – when it comes to me as a photographer I always wait for the moment and I do a lot of preparations to secure the best possible settings before the click. But, taking a shoot isn’t only about the moment and camera settings – the mood of the photo solely depends on its background story. Whose story am I trying to capture? What is he/she thinking about? Why is he/she hear? Everyone and everything has a story and that’s the moment when I love being a storyteller.”
One really can feel that passion to be a storyteller in his impressive body of work.
Let's discover more about Goran Jovic and the man behind his photos in this most interesting interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I live in Imotski and so to say I work all over the world. However, when I am being just an ordinary man I work at high school as a PE teacher. Although I enjoy travelling and rediscovering different cultures and people around the world, I still find a lot of satisfaction in teaching young people.
All of my hobbies are somehow intertwined since they involve a lot of creativity! So, in order not to get stressed I like gardening a lot. It brings harmony into my life and it teaches me how to take things in my stride.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
I would never say that my history has influenced my photography, it’s more vice a versa. Photography brought a lot of new people into my life who definitely inspire me and make me see and feel the world differently. Photography is predominantly visual art and yet it somehow taught me that appearance is not the only thing that matters. I evolved because of photography, it made me want to dig deeper, find more and experience more. Thus, experiences which have become my life goals are those I had had when I first visited African tribes finally learning what are the most important things in life: mutual respect and hard work.
What first attracted you to photography?
Photography was the biggest life’s surprise for me. My friend called me in the middle of the night and told me that he has just got a camera. “Let’s try it,” he said. My first photos were probably ridiculous, simply not good enough. Luckily, I am stubborn and I have always been “I have to do my best” person so I decided to learn. A lot of hard work and practice became the foundation of my photography career.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
Photography is a bit of art, science and story-telling. My photographic vision includes all of it – when it comes to me as a photographer I always wait for the moment and I do a lot of preparations to secure the best possible settings before the click. But, taking a shoot isn’t only about the moment and camera settings – the mood of the photo solely depends on its background story. Whose story am I trying to capture? What is he/she thinking about? Why is he/she hear? Everyone and everything has a story and that’s the moment when I love being a storyteller.
Why are you so drawn by Documentary Photography?
Documentary photography is the most intriguing form since it gives you an opportunity to rediscover yourself. If you are a professional photographer, taking a photo becomes almost an involuntary activity. When you see something interesting, you just take a camera and you give it a go – without a lot of thinking. On the other hand, documentary photography teaches you how to approach your subjects, how to be patient, how to live somewhere else or how to live with people from different cultures. There is a lot of truth behind the scenes, the story can’t be pre-arranged….it depends on a moment and it irrevocably involves you.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
Technical perfection is important, but I have made a several shoots which weren’t technically perfect but they have become my favorites due to their background story and mood. Working on the field is a risky business and things often don’t go the way you want them to, but some imperfections evolve into life tutorials. Once I made a photo using the wrong settings but those settings somehow emphasized the real mood of the subject. The same goes for life and living. Grandiose acts aren’t always the best ones, truth is hidden in small things.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer? Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
My preparations are sometimes more exhausting than the trips themselves. I like to know where I am going and who I am meeting. So, I always tend to live with the tribes, eat what they eat, drink what they drink and do what they do. I wouldn’t say that I am an observer, I actually become one of them.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
When it comes to equipment I mostly use Sony Alpha 7R II, Sony Alpha 7S II, Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8, Sony Sonnar T*FE 55 mm f/1.8 ZA, DJI Mavic Pro, stabilization equipment include Manfrotto 190!go and Konova and most of it fit into my Manfrotto BumbleBee backapack.
What software do you use to process your images?
When it comes to software, I primarily use Photoshop and Lightroom.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
My workflow depends on the type of photography I do. If I am doing weddings or some other commercial photo sessions, I firstly check out the places where I am shooting, I list its advantages and disadvantages and I also interview the subjects to make them more comfortable and to give them an insight into what we are doing. After the shooting, I do the selection and then I use the previously listed software to make the best of each photo I have selected. On the other hand, when I am out in the field, I somehow think that I freguently make loads of photos but I enjoy the selection after it. I dig deeper and I make list of photos which later become rounded stories.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Documentary Photography and how do you get started?
The most important advice one could give to a beginner is to work hard because documentary photography is tricky, it takes all of you, so to say, it consumes you. In a nutshell, you have to start living your photography. Once you reach the moment when you are what you shoot, than make sure that you make a shot every day. Error and trial are the foundation of learning.
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
My favourite photographer is without a doubt Eric Lafforgue who I truly admire as a photographer and a story-teller. He was the one who pushed me into documentary photography and I infinitely admire his dedication to discovering and retelling the stories of indigenous tribes.
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
In the future I see myself in videography. I have already started a lot of projects which include a lot of videos and I have an outstanding team which helps me to always want more and push harder. I find videography interesting since it can definitely give more life to stories my subjects have.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
My favourite photo is definitely Rain Boy. That one shot turned my life upside down. It was my breakthrough into the world of photography. What makes it special is the story behind it and the fact that I had made one single shot of that boy in the rain. We met after the christening ceremony in Tanzania and he was standing in the rain looking at me as if he wanted to say something. It felt like the entire muddy field divides us and that the only way to reach out to him is to frame him in that one mysterious moment.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
When I finally found myself as a photographer I discovered 1X and I fervently started following it, looking at other people’s work and posting my own. It helped me to learn a lot, it gave me opportunity to write my first tutorials and to share my stories. To cut it short, if you are a photographer, 1X is truly a home, not yet another website.
Check out my website
http://goran-jovic.com/ [email protected]