SARAJEVO SELF-PORTRAIT: THE VIEW FROM INSIDE
By Leslie Fratkin
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."
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.