SARAJEVO SELF-PORTRAIT: THE VIEW FROM INSIDE

By Leslie Fratkin
Essay by Tom Gjelten
 

Images and words by nine photographers from Bosnia: Kemal Hadzic, Milomir Kovacevic, Danilo Krstanovic, Nermin Muhic, Mladen Pikulic, Nihad Pusija, Damir Sagolj, Sahin Sisic, and Dejan Vekic.

"This book takes you on an extraordinary and revealing journey inside a city torn by war. It is a startling collection of words and images captured by Bosnian photographers who chronicled the destruction of their own land-a powerful mosaic of life and death."
-Laura Silber, author, Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation

"The gifted and unsung photographers of Sarajevo, watching their beloved capital under siege, responded with pluck, motherwit, and affection. Their individual tales, riveting and sometimes droll, contain the essence of the human will to resist. This is a wonderful book."

-Roy Gutman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, A Witness to Genocide

Umbrage Editions is pleased to present Sarajevo Self-portrait: The View From Inside, the work and words of nine photographers from Bosnia. Each of these courageous photographers continued making pictures throughout the course of the war in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo, photographing the ruins and documenting the loss of their neighborhoods and homes, families and friends. The book offers an authentic view of a country at war in a completely new way-through the eyes of those actually living inside it. Although the world has been inundated with images of the war in Bosnia since its beginning, almost all of those pictures were taken by outsiders: foreigners, journalists, and war tourists, all crossing borders with an ease not afforded those who call Bosnia home.

These images, made in spite of-and often as a result of-the harsh living conditions endured by the photographers, are powerful testimony to the real situation of the war. Made with what little film they had, in ruined darkrooms without electricity or running water, they are not only hard proof of the destruction and the suffering of this once-beautiful country but a salute to an indomitable spirit. For a country so brutally torn apart by racial conflict and hate, and for the rest of the world which largely ignored Bosnia's cries for help, Sarajevo Self-portrait is much more than just a collection of photographs; it is a powerful and much-needed opportunity to cut straight through media's rhetoric, uncovering the hard truths of war.

A moving essay by Tom Gjelten, author of Sarajevo Daily: A City and Its Newspaper Under Siege (Harper Collins) and award-winning National Public Radio correspondent, is included, as well as a chronology of the history of Sarajevo and the Balkan conflict. Leslie Fratkin, the photographer who initiated the Sarajevo Self-portrait project, describes her introduction to and involvement with this unique photographic community.

A traveling exhibition of the work will open in November 2000 at the Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio, to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accord and the end of the war in Bosnia. The exhibit will travel to the Museet for Fotokunst in Odense, Denmark, and other venues worldwide. A fully integrated website, including audio and video as well as each photographer's images and words, will be launched in Fall 2000 with WashingtonPost.com/Cameraworks.

"It was in Sarajevo that many of us got to know what was in store after the fall of the Berlin Wall. These powerful images capture a defining moment in the history of our time."
-Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Institute  


About the Author:

Leslie Fratkin, project director for Sarajevo Self-portrait, is a freelance photographer based in New York City. Her work is widely published by magazines throughout the world, featured in several books and exhibite worldwide. Fratkin first went to Bosnia and the city of Sarajevo in 1995, meeting with local photographers,filmmakers, and other artists. Their experiences of war and the nearly four-year siege of their city led her to create Sarajevo Self-portrait: The View from Inside. She is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, from foundations including the Soros Foundation, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, and Human Rights Watch. National Geographic features her photographs and views about Bosnia on their website: www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/fratkin



ISBN: 1-884167-03-9
9x12" vertical
164 pages
130 four-color and duotone images
Hardcover: $45
November 1, 2000

Published by Umbrage Editions, New York