We love following Croatian photographer and one of Fathom 24 Best Travel Photographer Zoran Marinovic as he takes us to forbidden places and challenges us to consider new perspectives and emotions. He tells us more about his photography style, what motivates him, and where he's headed next.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a Croatian documentary photographer and cameraman and have spent the past fifteen years covering conflicts and complex social and humanitarian issues around the world — in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Columbia. My work has been featured in many international and regional newspapers, magazines, and on TV, and I've won awards from Croatian Contemporary Art Foundation, Magazin Professional Photographer, and National Geographic / Your Shot, among others.
I am strongly engaged in humanitarian issues. My permanent photo exhibition, Hope in the Heart of Darkness, based on the cloisters of the Franciscan Monestery in Dubrovnik, has received more than one million visitors and collected more than $100,000 in contributions that will help build schools in Bukavu, DR Congo.
How would you describe your photography style?
My photos are very often described as documentary and journalism-based; these words both describe my style and my approach to photography. I always try to do a series, because it is very easy to manipulate the message when you have only one photograph.
I often shoot black and white because it represents the bare reality and shows the world as it really is — without embellishment or false visions. That is why I always try to do minimal photo editing: I want to show the world and people as they really are.
What do you love most about your work?
Emotions. Sometimes I feel like I become an emotion hunter. Photography reaches its success and value only when it records an emotion from the subject in front of the lens and, later, when it creates an emotional reaction in the person looking at the photo. I always give priority to the happiness, but unfortunately publishers today always prefer to show pain and sadness.
What impresses me the most is that no matter what situation one can encounter, life always wins. So in the worst horrors of conflicts and wars, amid all the photos of destruction, of death and accidents, different photographs stay in the mind and prevail — those of a man helping another man, those of sympathy, friendship, respect.
Where are you headed next?
I'm planing to spend some time in the village mountains of Albania to cover a story about sworn virgins, a female-born people who take on the social (but not sexual) role of a man. They dress, work, and live as men but remain chaste and unmarried. These societies have suffered a severe shortage of men due to interclan violence and Ottoman oppression. A clan without a patriarch might choose a female as a replacement, who would subsequently take on a male social role. This tradition is completely unique to this part of the world, and there are about 40 sworn virgins still in the highlands of Albania