This is a quartet of videos from my travels in the Balkans as part of the Wentworth Fellowship. They are from separate locations in the region, and are meant to depict my personal perspective in the exploration of each place. The music selected for each piece also represents how I experienced them.
These are intended, as is all my work regarding this bewildering region, to be bridges of understanding. I hope you enjoy what they may offer.
1. Budva, Crna Gora.
The town of Budva is a tourist trap which none-the-less revealed some amazing beauty. The statue of the dancing girl was a surprise to find tucked along a seaside walkway carved from the cliffs. Moon photographs have always fascinated me, and the crescent is my most beloved phase of the lunar cycle. Capturing it as it rose early in the evening was a spectacular moment. The song was chosen for its sultry implications as befits a Mediterranean evening.
2. Mostar, Hercegovina.
When I journeyed to Mostar, I went for one night (as opposed to one day). I began photographing the city just before midnight and continued until after dawn when I caught the early bus back to Sarajevo. This was also the first video I made in the series and, when I sent it to the singer (and actress, Ann Magnuson) whose work is featured in it, she asked if I had altered the colors at all. I did not; this is the way Mostar looks after midnight. At least, to my eye and camera. Since I was sleep-deprived and the city is lighted in surreal colors, the dream-state analogy is particularly apt.
3. Belgrade, Serbia.
I had wanted to photograph St. Sava's Cathedral since arriving in Belgrade. It took me almost two weeks to have an evening I could. This was an exercise in patience, as I wanted to capture both the light of the late evening sunset as well as the extraordinary church lighting itself. I knew I wanted to use a song of David Eugene Edwards; a musician whose talents cannot be overstated.
4. Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Sarajevo is the most amazing city I've ever been to. And, within Sarajevo, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque is a focal point of the town's history. The artistry of architecture alone is breathtaking, the fountain providing drinking water to thirsty passersby is an example of the open-handedness of the culture, and, after dark, when the lights come on, a visitor to the courtyard is transported into a liminal space that could be almost any time period in the last 500 years. Although it wasn't required, and may sound strange coming from a writer and academic from another culture, but I took these photos and video while barefoot, for I treated this place as sacred ground. I tried to use music which would reflect that.