Philanthropist, humanist, adventurous and above all incredibly talented photographer are just some of the words how we could describe this artist! We are introducing you Sir Goran Jović – The Grand Winner of The First Half B&W CHILD PHOTO CONTEST!
Portrait of Goran Jović photographed by his mentor and role model Vedran Vidak.
For everyone who didn’t have a chance to see all the results of The First Half B&W CHILD PHOTO CONTEST, we want to remind you that Goran took a 1st Place in The Portrait Category with his already very famous photograph “Rain Boy” and 2nd Place in The Street & Documentary Category with the photograph “The Line”.
Q: Hi Goran!It’s such a joy to do this interview with you and introduce your work to many photographers from all around the globe who are part of our community. Can you tell us more about you? Do you have an official education in photography or your education background has nothing to do with photography?
A:I am a type of person who likes to explore beyond the typical photo storyline or the obvious details. I do not have the official education in photography, I am a professor of physical education.
Q: Did you find photography or photography found you? Can you tell us how and when your photography journey started?
A:It can be said that photography found me. One morning a friend called me and said that we should go out and take some photos to check his new camera, but it was around 3am and it was pouring cats and dogs. I accepted the challenge and off we went. My friend and I were soaked to skin but I suddenly felt an urge to buy photo equipment so I bought his.
Q: In your biography you’ve mentioned that your role model and mentor is Mr. Vedran Vidak. Can you tell us more about this relationship and how he influenced you, what advises he gave you on your journey? What did he teach you the most?
A: My first introduction to photography, actually, was the time when I first met Vedran. He influenced me a lot through his advises which were given on daily bases when I was beginning to practice photography. The most important thing he learned me is how to remove unimportant frame details.
Q: What is your “formula” for image editing? Do you edit in Photoshop or Lightroom?
A: I use Photoshop, however I do not have a special formula because each photo is a story for itself and I like to play with different canals and there are some secret “ingredients” for editing which I would like to keep for myself.
Q: Many of your photographs are timeless, we could say even romantic. Is your work part of your own sensibility?
A: Of course it is because I give part of my personality in each photo and it is certainly a visual connection of my inner self and the subject in question.
Q: In your portfolio we had a chance to see that you also do Fashion Photography. How often you do fashion photo shoots? Do you define yourself as a mostly documentary photographer or you like to explore all genres?
A: It is nice to have an escape exit from though documentary subjects and do a few exciting fashion shoots, but there is no challenge like documentary challenges and I am primarily documentary photographer who likes to explore his own limits and limits of other cultures and people.
Q: It’s more than obvious that documentary and fashion photography are very different. But can you tell us what is your point of view? What excites you in documentary and what in fashion?
A: The difference is obvious because documentary photography is unpredictable while fashion photography is predictable and I enjoy exploring the unpredictable situations and I like to take every possible opportunity to find more than there is on the surface.
Q: Every human being is unique. Is that why you love portraits so much?
A: It was said long time ago that the eyes are the mirror of a soul and portraits give me opportunity to see underneath and meet each person on a complete new level or to simply find their inner personality which was hidden from the others but was constantly craving to stand out.
Q: Do you take photos every day?
A: No. Everyone needs a break.
Q: Can you list all the countries you visited so far? We got impression you’ve been everywhere and you did almost everything!
A: List is endless and I still feel that I have not been everywhere however there is one thing I still would like to do – travel around the world – start at the point A and come back to that same place whenever I want, without time limit. Q: It’s probably not fair to ask what is your favorite place so far, but can you tell us your favorite moments from your journeys?
A: It certainly is not fair to ask about my favourite place, but I do have a favourite moment which includes two sister Felista and Ane, who are twins and live in an orphanage in Tanzania, and Felista called me “baba” which means “dad” in Swahili. That was the most impressive but also the saddest moment ever because they are all alone in the world without both parents.
Q: Nature is magical, isn’t it? How you feel and fit when you come back to Western society after being exposed to so much raw beauty?
A: Nature truly has its own means of seduction and I have to say that I feel more natural and I adapt more easily when I go to new places embraced in nature than when I come back to Western society.
Q: You do charity work. Can you tell us how your adventures in Africa started?
A: First, I met Ivana Parlov and after our small talk I found out that she has organised an orphanage in Africa, I was very overwhelmed by the story and it significantly inspired me after I thought about it for a while. Thus, I phoned her and asked her if she needs a photographer and a volunteer there and she welcomed the idea and that is how things got started. Q: Many photographers who are attracted to documentary photography wonder how do you finance your trips? Do you have sponsors? Do you work for magazines and sell your photographs to them?
A: First few trips were supported by my personal financial arrangements but after a breakthrough in photography world I found some sponsors and cooperated with the journalists and TV and our cooperation resulted in adequate financial support.
Q: When you travel to Africa, how it actually looks like in a real world? Do you travel alone or you have a team of people? How much equipment do you take with you?
A: It is difficult to portrait Africa in a single frame, there is, so to say, a bigger picture behind it – a lot of manoeuvre behind each situation and a subject. However, when you manage to catch its spirit in a single frame it can be considered as a true success. When it comes to travelling companions, travelling alone is a true adventure and I frequently did it at the beginnings, travelling with a companion is ideal because you are a support to each other, travelling with two more people is maximum an adventure can stand. Now I often travel with a team but only when the team I am compatible with is free because we are well organised and everything functions well. Photo equipment requires a camera, three lenses, tripod, sun bouncer and a lot of batteries. Other equipment might be called “a survival kit” and it depends on the terrain I am visiting but it mostly includes a tent, a hammock, some tools, etc.
Q: What do you like about Africa? Dislike?
A: Africa has these particular places which are unique and untouched by human hand and all these places give me a lot of joy. However, they are vanishing under the pressure of the modern world and that’s what I dislike the most.
Q: What Africa taught you?
A: Africa taught me that time is a priceless heritage only if you do not measure it. You can have a watch or a clock but the turn of their hands cannot capture the real value of the moment. Thus, African people have all the time in the world.
Q: When you were a child growing up in a small ex Yugoslavian Balkan country, could you imagine yourself living so adventurous life almost like Indiana Jones?
A: Well, ex Yugoslavian Balkan country does not necessarily mean that I was immune to dreaming. I had some different dreams then. I was a typical young boy passionate about football and I spent my free time admiring Indiana Jones’ discoveries. Now I have a new dream – to discover places that Indian Jones has never even dreamt about. Q: We can only imagine how many interesting stories you have from your adventures. Can you tell us what’s going on on here? 🙂
A: What’s going on? We changed perspectives – they made me a bindi ( a small red dot on my forehead) and I gave them my camera. When you see someone through their own cultural symbol or a tool it opens various ways for communication. Q: And here? 🙂
A: I was wondering how he would react when I came in front of him and I was also interested in my own adrenalin – based reaction. There were too many question marks and I could not resist the challenge. Q: How do you communicate with kids and people in Africa? Do you have a translator or you rely on old good body language?
A: Sometimes I have a local guide but I mostly rely on the body language. However, I have to emphasise that commonly used gestures do not have the same meaning there and they often lead to various misunderstandings and funny situations. Q: It seems like your heart belongs to B&W Photography? Why is that so?
A: Colors distract us from the real meaning of the feeling or a certain situation. I live in a black and white world and it is quite bold to invite people through black and white photos to find their own colors and to see what an image offers in its deepest visual code.
Q: You have received so many awards for your work. How does it feel like being recognized in such a way? How important for every photographer is to participate in quality photography contests?
A: No matter how satisfied you are with your own work, it is also necessary to be recognized by people who are important in the photography world. Awards are some kind of fuel which adds fire to your passion and you always want more. The same can be said for the quality photography contest which should be understood as a step forward and an everlasting urge to go for more.
Q: What is your message to other photographers?
A: Take a step further, there is a story beyond.