Filed under: Croatia | Tags: 2005, 35mm film, osijek, travel diary, winter
Before I married or became an artist, I quit my job of seven years, cashed out my 401K and took off to Croatia to do volunteer work at the Center for Peace. People thought I was brave, stupid or crazy and looking back, I’d have to agree with everyone. Most people turning 30 were planning weddings and buying baby strollers and there I was, giving up everything. I had spent time visiting my pen pal in Slovenia years before, and taught English to Bosnian refugees in Pittsburgh, so I had developed an interest in former-Yugoslavia and its politics. I wanted to give up everything because I felt burdened with the usual 9 to 5 routine. I was also having difficulty with my mother, whose mental state was becoming so painful to deal with, I felt I had to move thousands of miles away from home to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My plan was no plan: I’d go, find teaching work, see what it’s like to live day-to-day instead of with routine, a challenge for someone like me who plans everything. I mostly experienced solitude, peppered with surreal interactions and relationships – it’s been hard for me to write about. Indeed, it took me years to even look through the photos I had taken with my Canon. I spent a lot of time documenting my everyday world there, and in some of these shots, I see my eye just beginning to show signs of a photographer emerging through the lens. These photos were taken during a snowstorm in January 2005; I’m sure I was on my way to one of the kinos (for some reason Osijek had two movie theaters flanking each end of one block, playing the same movie for weeks), my lunch of kulen and grain-bread wrapped in a napkin in my bag, the finger tips cut off my gloves so my hands were free to shoot or write. These prints are the only copies since I lost the negatives somewhere along my journey.
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