“I believe my memories of times of war in Slovenia put seeds to my present work”.
Slovenian photographer, Matic Zorman likes “strong cigarettes, strong café, strong characters”. For his striking image of a child covered with a raincoat while waiting behind bars at a refugee camp in Serbia, he just received a World Press Photo Award 2015, categorie Portrait. Part of the team of Balkans&Beyond, he talks about war, corruption and the “science of swearing.”
Did you experienced any of the 90’s Balkans war?
As a 5 year old child, I experienced the Balkans war mostly in our basement, where we occasionally went to take shelter during the overflights of the figher jets.
What do you remember from this time?
I will never forget two memories from the times war in Slovenia. As I live in vicinity of the main Slovenian airport, I constantly heard the fighter jets flying by towards the antenas on Krvavec hill, which were their targets. As they flew so low, I was really excited to hear the windows of our apartment shaking.
The other memory is a scene from a TV report. In it, an old refugee mother, which resembled visually to my grand grandmother, was crying and shaking so hard I was overwhelmed with feelings and started to cry as well. I believe this put seeds to my present work today.
Do people in your environment (family/friends…) still talk about Tito and Yougoslavia time? Is there a Tit-ostalgia?
Yes, a lot ! As the economical and political hygiene in Slovenia is drastically spiraling down, Tito-stalgia is quite present. Though, normally, a lot of people don’t necessarily agree with everything Tito has done. But majority of people still prefer fair employment, social care honest people, which were some of the values of Yugoslavia instead of the corruption, exploitation of the capitalism and cold instant coffee.
3 words to resume Balkans today?
Mixer of political interests.
The main problems of the region according to you?
There are two kinds of corruption in my opinion. Once, there was fair corruption in politics. Now it’s dirty and opportunistic money grabbing, exploitation by large companies, confusion and insensitivity towards poor class.
Do you have any person/VIP from the region you admire? Who and why?
A coutume/habit/particularity of Balkans you especially like. Dislike.
Strong cigarettes + strong coffee, strong characters, science of swearing, humor, home made coffee, old people with virtues and values they still hold on to. I dislike the modernisation which is ripping off the Balkans from the Balkans.
Why did you take part to Balkans&beyond project?
I wanted to present a brief view of « my » region through my photos.
On what story did you worked and what is it about?
Encounters on the borders. A former Bosnian refugee, who is now a volunteering during a current refugee crisis in the Balkans.
What did you learnt? What suprised you?
I learned I really don’t know as much about the Balkans as I believed I do. The history, locations. It was surprising and motivational work, to explore more.
How went the transnational ‘working together’?
With interesting tales, good food, even better coffee and cigarettes and fun, it couldn’t go wrong. I would just wish I would have more time to work on the field and consequentially have better access and more intimacy in the story.