I still remember it as if it had been yesterday. Even though I’ve never been affected myself as somebody who grew up in Austria and who had the privilege of going to the sea twice a year. To the sea in Yugoslavia. Even I feel strange writing this name although I never really came to know Yugoslavia and the war there happened at a time I can hardly remember. I was young and didn’t really have much interest in news and in wars. Yet I remember clearly how I was having breakfast with my parents and my sister in Rovinj and my parents kept discussing a bit nervously to consider returning to Austria earlier from our holiday.
I count a lot of people from former Yugoslavia among my closest friends and some of them have even experienced the era of the collapse and the war there, they’ve lost dear people and had to leave everything behind. Yet for a long time I had the feeling as if all this wasn’t happening in an area so close to my home country but somewhere on the other side of our world. Even today I don’t know enough about all that happened and I often felt that in later years people somehow wouldn’t tell everything.
Dragana Jurisic originally started her project “Yu: The lost country” with the idea of rediscovering the Yugoslavia she had experienced and capturing remains of it in her photos. She wanted to find the “Yugoslavia” again in the countries into which it has been split. But in an interview with Lensculture Magazine she claims that she soon began to realize that there was nothing nostalgic about her photo trip. Very quickly she noticed that what she discovered had nothing in common with the home country of her memories. She even called it “a journey of rejection”.
Her pictures are incredibly moving and beautiful even if they only show everyday situations. You immediately notice that they express a lot of the photographer’s personal history and emotions. But the project also shows a country that still hasn’t left behind much of its past.
This year her photos are also part of the FORMAT17, an international photography festival in Derby, UK. The motto of this year is called HABITAT (Home) and the festival will take place from March 24 to April 23. So if you happen to be in Great Britain at this time, don’t miss the event.
In any case take a look at her website! Besides “Yu: the lost country” you can find many more exciting photo projects.