Group exhibition entitled On Photography At The Academy of Arts Osijek has been opened to the public on December 1st, 2017  in the Gallery of Fine Arts in Osijek, Croatia. The exhibition, curated by Vladimir Frelih,  showcased student works in the photography medium. What is amazing about this exhibition is the unique approach of each artist to the photography medium, which resulted in great contemporary photography artworks.

I am very happy to be a part of this exhibition, and a couple of photographs from the series Apartment (2016) and Untitled (2015) were included.

The following artists have been featured in this group exhibition: Adam Atila, Ana Petrović, Andrea Knezović, Damir Lesinger, Dina Lukić, Dora Tomić, Dražen Budimir, Ida Đurkić, Ivan Matančević, Ivana Jozić, Ivona Medarski, Josip Kaniža, Karlo Arnold, Kristina Marić, Krunoslav Dundović, Lucija Jakovina, Lucija Marić, Luka Brico, Marija Matić, Marija Mikulić Bošnjak, Martina Ižaković, Mirna Petrović, Mirna Pokorić, Momir Baborac, Robert Fišer, Tamara Čes, and Zrinka Botić. 

For more information about each artist and their work, read the text about the exhibition, by Anamarija Koljanin.

(scroll down for Croatian version)

On Photography at the UAOS

The exhibition On Photography at the UAOS gathers selected works of the students from the Art Academy in Osijek, realized through photography classes under the mentorship of Professor Vladimir Frelih during the last ten years, from the beginning of the photography class at the UAOS.

The exhibition includes the works of the first generation of students of the Art Academy in Osijek, some of which are those who continued to work as artists after the end of their studies and became noticed in the art scene. We know their work from solo and group exhibitions they are actively participating in, while some of them became educators and art pedagogues. On the other hand, the exhibition gathers the works of the students who exclusively chose to be only educators or they apply their knowledge outside of the sphere of contemporary art, as well as the youngest future artists and educators who are yet to finish their studies.

The photography classes have the goal to familiarize students with the basic terms and technical knowledge and applications of photography through different aspects of visual expression, covering a wide range from documentary photography to works that are created by visual exploration and experimentation with some of the aspects of media or visual, conceptual or representational problems. Aside from questioning the visual in photography and using photography for documenting situations or processes, the students are familiarized with using photography as an integral part of multimedia projects and connecting different art mediums.

Furthermore, learning how to choose and apply the photographic medium and technique for the realization of their work, how to conceive, develop, perform, and present a photographic project, how to compare and combine different photographic experiences from history and theory of photography is learned simultaneously through adopting a multimedia approach and an attitude that photography is simply one of the possible mediums for artistic expression within a number of contemporary art strategies and that choosing photography as a medium comes from solving some sort of artistic problem, idea or a concept.

One of the more complex projects that include multiple mediums is the work of Josip Kaniža, here present with the series of photographs Untitled and Copy/Paste. In this work, photography is used to document imprints of a space with the frottage technique so that the photographs document the relief structure created with graphite. With this process, the photography series functions as an archive of the space transferred into imprints and at the same time as a series of abstract paintings, while it’s primarily created as a document of an artistic process.

Interest for abstract visuals and transferring content from one medium to another is characteristic to Ana Petrović’s Untitled (from the LIFRAM series). Her series of five photographs records light from a movie projector so that the light alone and the spreading of light between the projector and the screen becomes the content of the image, and the series of abstract compositions have subtle tonal variations within an identical frame.

A couple of other authors are also interested in aspects of photography where tonal or coloristic visual compositions are made that move towards abstraction or difficulty of discerning motifs, usually in series, shooting surface structure in close-ups like a flimsy wall, pavement or impressed traces on human skin, in the works of Dora Tomić (Layers of Rationalization), Momir Baborac (Untitled), and Kristina Marić (Traces). Or they emphasize color and geometry of lines and surfaces shot from above in the work of Marija Matić (From Above).

In the works of Krunoslav Dundović (Reconstruction I and Reconstruction II) and Mirna Pokorić (Object), a photograph is a result of a work process in the medium of digital video and animation. Dundović experiments with computer editing of video and collages of micro-frames and he achieves a visual fragmentation of a moving image while Pokorić constructs object from fragments of different discarded objects, photographs them and includes them in a stop animation. In another work, Pokorić intervenes with drawing and painting on the pages of a scrapbook bought at a flea market, and then she photographs her interventions over children drawings, accomplishing meaningful and visual contrasts.

Damir Lesinger explores the possibilities of narration in a photo-comic, using himself as a character in a fictionalized narrative structured through collage photography and a couple of works are done by digital photomontage and digital collage, and the result is strange and humorous displays that critically interpret reality, playing with ingrained patterns of representation. Like in the works of Atila Adam (Colt Python), Ivana Jozić (Dining and Forest), Marija Mikulić Bošnjak (Headless), Tamara Čes (Universal), and Lucija Marić (The Moon), the works a created with photo manipulation of their photographs or collected visual material. From photographs collected from the internet, Ana Petrović and Karlo Arnold create wall collages or photo-installations, questioning personal identity. Ana Petrović structures the installation from random portraits of the people with the same name and surname, while Arnold creates a visual archive of his everyday life and social interactions with the photographs from social media and his personal collection.

Everyday life is a subject of more series of works. Dina Lukić records staged situations where she questions the weird and offensive in the context of an ordinary everyday life. Andrea Knezović, dealing with the problem of self-representation, in the series Apart ment, openly records traces of her lifestyle, privacy, and intimacy, questioning them as a reflection of her personality and identity in relation to social norms. Ivan Matančević in the series In The Home of the Media, shoots portraits of his friends illuminated by a TV screen, in states of intense immersion in the content of the TV program, presenting them as passive consumers of mass media. Ida Đurkić in the series Habit captures the same sight every day, a view through a window with a lamp reflection, in different light conditions, at the same time of the day.

A couple of works deal with different aspects of presentation of the human body, using different techniques like cyanotype or scanning, and different approaches in recording staged situations and portraits: Kristina Marić (Dichotomy of Pain, Hansel and Gretel), Zrinka Botić (Untitled), Andrea Knezović (Untitled), Mirna Petrović (Memento), Martina Ižaković (Untitled), Tamara Čes (Zone).

Documentary aspects of photography are developed by Lucija Jakovina by portraying her grandmother and especially Robert Fišer in the series Transitions, precisely capturing the interior of devastated factories like Kožara and Šećerana, creating a visual archive of empty industrial buildings. A critical charge in capturing social reality is evident in the series Cats, Sex & Nazis by Dražen Budimir. He captures the sights inside cars, over the barrier of car windows, making rosaries with crosses hung on the rearview mirror the center of the composition. By repeating the motifs of the religious symbol which he combines with statements taken from internet forums where hate and bigotry is expressed next to religiousness, Budimir constructs a critical narrative about hypocrisy in the contemporary society. Kristina Marić, in the work Nobody’s square, is also critical towards society imprinted with nationalism. She uses photography to document phases of an art action where a piece of land dug up in the territory of one country is transferred over the state border and buried in the territory of the other country.

The number of different approaches, aesthetics and practices that can be seen in this selection of student works show encouraging courses of thought that develop towards different elementary or more complex medium exploration, depending on personal interests, preoccupations, and artistic curiosity. There are works from the ones that are easily read and simple to concepts and more complex ideas that invite us for a more layered reading. Thereby, it shouldn’t be forgotten that these are the works that were often created as a result of first student encounters with the medium of photography and their first explorations of the possibilities of the medium which has, as we can see from a few artist, resulted in a deliberate and complexly structured works.

Ana-Marija Koljanin

Croatian version:

O fotografiji na UAOS

Izložba O fotografiji na UAOS okuplja odabrane radove studenata Odsjeka za likovnu umjetnost Umjetničke akademije u Osijeku realizirane kroz nastavu kolegija fotografije pod mentorstvom profesora Vladimira Freliha, tijekom posljednjih deset godina, odnosno od samoga pokretanja kolegija fotografije na Odsjeku za likovnu umjetnost do danas.

Izložba obuhvaća radove prvih generacija studenata osječke Umjetničke akademije, među kojima su i oni koji su se nakon završetka studija nastavili baviti umjetnošću te postaju sve zapaženijima na umjetničkoj sceni. Njihov rad poznajemo sa samostalnih i skupnih izložbi na kojima aktivno sudjeluju, dok su neki od njih i sami postali edukatori i likovni pedagozi. S druge strane, izložba okuplja i radove studenata koji su se nakon studija opredijelili isključivo za pedagoški rad ili primjenjuju stečena znanja izvan sfere suvremene umjetnosti, kao i najmlađe buduće autore i pedagoge kojima tek predstoji završetak studija.

Nastava se na kolegiju fotografije izvodi u cilju upoznavanja studenata s osnovnim pojmovima, obilježjima, tehničkim znanjima te primjenama medija fotografije kroz različite aspekte likovnog izražavanja, obuhvaćajući širok raspon od reportažne i dokumentarne fotografije do radova koji nastaju vizualnim istraživanjem i eksperimentiranjem s nekim od svojstava medija ili likovnih, konceptualnih i prikazivačkih problema. Pored preispitivanja likovnog u fotografiji, zatim upotrebe fotografije za dokumentiranje situacija ili procesa, studente se upoznaje s upotrebom fotografije kao sastavnog dijela multimedijskih projekata ili poveznice između različitih medija likovnog izražavanja. Štoviše, učenjem kako odabrati i primijeniti fotografski medij i tehniku za realizaciju svog rada, kako koncipirati, razvijati, izvesti i prezentirati fotografski projekt, kako komparirati i kombinirati različita fotografska iskustva iz povijesti i teorije fotografije, uči se istovremeno kroz usvajanje multimedijskog pristupa radu i usvajanje stava da je fotografija tek jedan od ravnopravnih medija umjetničkog izražavanja unutar brojnih suvremenih umjetničkih strategija, odnosno da odabir fotografije kao medija proizlazi iz rješavanja nekog umjetničkog problema, ideje ili koncepta.

Jedan je od kompleksnijih projekata, koji uključuje realizaciju kroz više medija, rad Josipa Kaniže, ovdje predstavljen serijama fotografija Bez imena i Copy/paste. U ovom se radu fotografijom bilježi otiske prostora nastale tehnikom frotaža tako da fotografije dokumentiraju reljefnu strukturu izvedenu grafitom. Takvim postupkom serija fotografija funkcionira kao arhiv prostora prenesenog u otiske te ujedno kao niz apstraktnih slika, dok primarno nastaje kao dokument umjetničkog procesa.

Zanimanje za apstraktnu vizualnost i prenošenje sadržaja jednoga medija u drugi svojstveno je i radu Bez naslova (iz serije LIFRAM) Ane Petrović. Njezina serija od pet fotografija bilježi svjetlost projektora tijekom prikazivanja filma te tako sama svjetlost, odnosno rasprostiranje svjetla između projektora i projekcijske plohe postaje sadržajem slike, a sam niz apstraktnih kompozicija donosi suptilne tonske varijacije unutar identično postavljenog kadra.

Još nekoliko autora zanimaju prikazivački aspekti fotografiranja kojima ostvaruju tonske ili kolorističke likovne kompozicije koje se kreću prema apstrahiranju prikaza ili otežavanju raspoznatljivosti motiva, najčešće u serijama, snimajući u krupnim kadrovima strukturu neke površine, poput oronulog zida, uličnog pločnika ili utisnutih tragova na ljudskoj koži, u radovima Dore Tomić (Slojevi racionalizacije), Momira Baborca (Bez naziva) i Kristine Marić (Tragovi), ili pak naglašavajući boju i geometrizam linija i ploha udaljenim kutom snimanja motiva i odozgo, u radu Marije Matić (Svisoka).

U radovima Krunoslava Dundovića (Rekonstrukcija I i Rekonstrukcija II) i Mirne Pokorić (Objekt) fotografija je rezultat procesa rada u mediju digitalnog videa i animacije. Dundović eksperimentira pomoću računalne montaže digitalnog videozapisa i kolažiranja mikro-kadrova, čime postiže vizualnu fragmentaciju pokretne slike, dok Pokorić konstruira objekte od fragmenata različitih odbačenih predmeta te ih fotografira i potom uključuje u postupak stop-animacije. U drugome radu, Pokorić slikarski i crtački intervenira na stranicama spomenarske bilježnice kupljene na buvljaku, te potom svoje intervencije preko dječjih crteža i zapisa fotografski dokumentira, ostvarujući značenjske i vizualne kontraste.

Damir Lesinger u foto-stripu istražuje mogućnosti naracije, koristeći svoj lik u fikcionaliziranom narativu strukturiranom kroz kolaž fotografija, a nekolicina je radova izvedena postupcima digitalne fotomontaže ili digitalnog kolaža, čime nastaju likovne cjeline začudno ili humorno konstruiranih prikaza koje nerijetko kritički interpretiraju stvarnost poigravajući se uvriježenim obrascima prikazivanja, primjerice u radovima Adama Atile (Colt Python), Ivane Jozić (Objedovanje i Šuma), Marije Mikulić Bošnjak (Headless), Tamare Čes (Universal) i Lucije Marić (Mjesec), pri čemu se radovi realiziraju naknadnom manipulacijom vlastitih fotografija ili se koriste i kolažiraju fragmenti prikupljenog vizualnog materijala. Od fotografija prikupljenih s Interneta Ana Petrović i Karlo Arnold stvaraju zidne kolaže, odnosno fotoinstalacije, baveći se pitanjima osobnog identiteta. Ana Petrović strukturira instalaciju od nasumično odabranih portreta osoba istog imena i prezimena (Ana Petrović), dok Arnold stvara vizualni arhiv svoje svakodnevice i društvenih interakcija fotografijama s društvenih mreža te iz osobne kolekcije.

Svakodnevica se kao tema na različite načine pojavljuje u još nekoliko serija radova. Dina Lukić snima režirane situacije kojima problematizira zazorno u kontekstu uobičajene svakodnevice. Andrea Knezović, baveći se problemom autoreprezentacije, u seriji Stan neskriveno bilježi tragove svog načina života, privatnosti i intime, propitujući ih kao odraz svoje osobnosti u odnosu na društvene norme. Ivan Matančević u seriji U domu medija portretira svoje prijatelje osvijetljene svjetlošću ekrana, u stanjima intenzivne uronjenosti u sadržaj televizijskog programa, prikazujući ih kao pasivne konzumente masovnih medija. Ida Đurkić pak u seriji Navika svakoga dana bilježi jedan te isti prizor, pogled kroz prozor u kojem se zrcali sobna lampa, u različitim svjetlosnim uvjetima, u isto doba dana.

Nekoliko se radova bavi različitim aspektima reprezentacije ljudskog lika, koristeći različite tehnike, poput cijanotipije ili skeniranja, te različite pristupe u bilježenju režiranih situacija i portretnih uprizorenja: Kristina Marić (Dihotomija boli, Hensel und Gretel), Zrinka Botić (Bez naziva), Andrea Knezović (Untitled), Mirna Petrović (Memento), Martina Ižaković (Untitled), Tamara Čes (Zona).

Dokumentarističke aspekte fotografije razvija Lucija Jakovina portretiranjem svoje bake, te posebno Robert Fišer u seriji Tranzicije, precizno bilježeći kadrove interijera devastiranih tvornica, poput Kožare i Šećerane, stvarajući vizualni arhiv ispražnjenih industrijskih pogona. Kritički naboj u bilježenju društvene stvarnosti dolazi do izražaja i u seriji Cats, Seks & Nazis Dražena Budimira, koji registrira prizore unutrašnjosti automobila preko barijere automobilskih stakala, smještajući u središte kompozicije motiv krunice s križem ovješene o retrovizor. Repeticijom motiva religijskog simbola koji u kompozicijama fotografije i teksta kombinira s iskazima preuzetim s internetskih foruma u kojima se uporedo s religioznošću izražava netrpeljivost ili mržnja, Budimir konstruira kritički narativ o licemjerju i sve prisutnijim nazadnim pojavama suvremenog društva. Kristina Marić se u radu Ničiji kubik također postavlja kritički spram šireg društvenog konteksta obilježenog nacionalizmima, koristeći fotografiju za dokumentiranje faza umjetničke akcije u kojoj se određenu količinu zemlje iskopane na teritoriju jedne države nastoji prenijeti preko državne granice i zakopati na teritoriju druge.

Brojnost i različitost pristupa, estetika i praksi koje se uočavaju u ovom odabiru studentskih radova ukazuju na poticajne smjerove razmišljanja koji se razvijaju se prema različitim elementarnim ili složenijim medijskim istraživanjima, ovisno o osobnim interesima, preokupacijama i umjetničkoj znatiželji. Nastaju radovi u rasponu od lako čitljivih i jednostavnih koncepata do kompleksnijih i detaljnije razrađenih ideja koje pozivaju na slojevitija čitanja. Pri tome ne treba gubiti iz vida da su ovdje izloženi radovi često nastali kao rezultat prvih studentskih susreta s radom u mediju fotografije i njihovih prvih istraživanja samih mogućnosti medija, što je, kako se možemo uvjeriti, kod nekolicine autora rezultiralo i vrlo promišljenim i kompleksno strukturiranim realizacijama radova.

Ana-Marija Koljanin


On Friday, December 1st, in the Gallery of Fine Arts, Osijek, an exhibition entitled On Photography at the Academy of Arts Osijek will be opened. The exhibition will include photography works of current and past students of The Academy, including myself, showing the amazing versatility and different approach to the photography medium. The exhibition is curated by the professor Vladimir Frelih.

Works from two of my photo series will be presented at the exhibition, Apartment (2016) and Untitled (2015)


Artists featured in the exhibition:

Adam Atila
Ana Petrović
Andrea Knezović
Damir Lesinger
Dina Lukić
Dora Tomić
Dražen Budimir
Ida Đurkić
Ivan Matančević
Ivana Jozić
Ivona Medarski
Josip Kaniža
Karlo Arnold
Kristina Marić
Krunoslav Dundović
Lucija Jakovina
Lucija Marić
Luka Brico
Marija Matić
Marija Mikulić Bošnjak
Martina Ižaković
Mirna Petrović
Mirna Pokorić
Momir Baborac
Robert Fišer
Tamara Čes
Zrinka Botić

Below, you can read the text by Leila Topić that provides further info about the exhibition and photography as an art medium.

Why study photography?

“The lens makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and in the end, in its own.”

Susan Sontag: On Photography

In his text Digressions On Photographic Agony written in1972, American avant-garde artist, filmmaker and photographer Hollis Frampton was writing about the paradox of imaginary world captured by photography. In the text, Frampton describes the discovery of Atlantis where a large archive or old photographs was found.

Considering that no one was particularly interested in the archive, the found photographs were distributed to archives and museums up until a young explorer started to analyze them. He determined that all of the photographs from the Atlantis archive were directed and staged to give an imaginary image of the world that never existed.

A similar narrative is contained in the movie Blade Runner where androids are given a false childhood along with photographic evidence of their imaginary past. When Frampton wrote his story, 45 years ago, it was a certain prediction, a vision of the world in which will live in today where an image is absolutely everything!

Our civilization is saturated by photographs: from famous people who are famous because their photographs are omnipresent, politicians who kiss babies, to drones who record before and after bombs destroy a certain area. It seems that in such world photographs create events instead of recording them.

The proof of the power of the image/photograph is the corporative business of collecting and repurchasing archives; let’s mention Getty Images or Corbis owned by Bill Gates whose existence (and the usage price) has a big impact on the usage of the photographic image. Why? The answer is obvious; archives that are owned by a single person or a corporation control our memory and representation of the universe.

Let’s take a look how illustrated magazines that use the aforementioned stock photos look: they are full of photographs beautified by Photoshop, the world is full of beautiful people, heavenly landscapes and homes that are designed in a cool way. Even the misery and squalor has to look beautiful, if we remember frequent photographic motifs from Havana or recently, in the Guardian, a published spread about the ‘beauties’ of demolished Syrian cities.

If photography was once connected to documenting sights and capturing ‘the deciding moments’, then today using photography in advertising takes a dominant role. Advertising and improved or imaginary photographs demand our undivided attention. That is an ideological reconstruction of a world that doesn’t exist, designed to keep the dominant status quo of the capitalistic production and support the craving for consumption.

Withal, visual studies are a recent dynamic discipline that asked important questions and offered the even more important answers about how to approach images and what are they telling us. That’s why the role of photography studies is important, because it helps to unmask and show the effects of photographic propaganda and the possibility of constructed photo-scenes serving the capital.

Vladimir Frelih with the exhibition simply titled On Photography proves that it’s very important to learn how to analyze, observe, and master the language of the media and create photography.

The works of the students who question their identities and analyze/construct the society are a good start for showing resistance to corporate photographs because they promote personal approach in viewing the world around us.

Student works vividly show how the professor Vladimir Frelih and the generations of his students managed to master the tasks like how to decide what to photograph, digital understanding and multi-disciplinarity of the photographic medium, communication, self-belief, the power of articulating and presenting projects, cooperation and self-analysis.

Those are the skills that not only enable them to be great artists but also great participants in the contemporary society.

On the other hand, photography is undoubtedly used as a certain proof of reality. It’s enough to remember unusually painful photographs that American soldiers captured inside the Iraqi Abu Ghraibu prison. Or the monstrous sights from concentration camps recorded after the liberation of its prisoners.

I mention these photographs because they were used as truthful evidence of these events and in the end used as a legal proof for the conviction of the perpetrators. But it’s clear that there is no simple way of how to reconcile documentary and constructed nature of a photographic image.

One of the most significant photographers of contemporary art, Jeff Wall, gave a good formulation of the dual nature of photographic image when he wrote that there are two repeating myths about photography; one myth says that photography represents the truth and the other is that it doesn’t.

And again, Frelih’s determination is very important here as well as the desire that the potential of student works presented at this exhibition developed between those two extremes; ‘truth and lies’ of the photographic image.

From the works created during ten years of devoted dialogue of the students and the professors of the Osijek’s UAOS, it is evident that a solid platform was made for the students, future artists, to transcribe and write the world while being aware that photography is made thanks to the camera and the decision only they make by pressing the camera shutter.

Of course, they carry an artistic responsibility considering that we live in a civilization that wholeheartedly embraced the term ‘alternative fact’ and ‘post-truth’.

In Susan Sontag’s book On Photography which, I believe, deliberately shares the title with this exhibition, the author writes that photographers, when photography was ‘only’ a business, were considered to be keen observers, “scribers but not poets”.

Today, when thanks to the availability of technology everybody can make a photograph, but not everybody can make a photographic artwork, On Photography exhibition shows that studying photography enables us to be closer to the poetic, artistic understanding of the world.

Leila Topić



Zašto studirati fotografiju?

„Objektiv svakog čini turistom u stvarnosti drugih ljudi, a na koncu i u svojoj vlastitoj“

Susan Sontag „O fotografiji“

U svom tekstu  „Digresije o fotografskoj agoniji“ napisanom 1972. američki avangardni umjetnik, filmaš i fotograf  Hollis Frampton  pisao je o paradoksu imaginarnog svijeta zabilježenog fotografijom. U tekstu Frampton opisuje otkriće Atlantide u kojoj je pronađena i velika arhiva starih fotografija. S obzirom da nitko nije bio pretjerano zainteresiran za arhivu,  pronađene fotografije su podijeljene arhivima i muzejima sve dok ih nije počeo analizirati mladi istraživač.

On je ustvrdio da su sve fotografije iz arhive Atlantide režirane i uprizorene kako bi dale imaginarnu sliku svijeta kakav uistinu nikada nije postojao.  Sličnu pripovijest sadrži i film Blade Runner. Naime, tamo se androidima, replikantima u paketu sa lažnim djetinjstvom podmeću i fotografije kao dokaz njihove izmišljene prošlosti. Kada je Frampton pisao svoju pripovijest, prije četrdeset i pet godina, posrijedi je bilo stanovito pretkazanje, vizija svijeta u kakvom danas živimo u kojem je slika apsolutno sve!

Naša je civilizacija  zasićena fotografijama: od slavnih osoba koje su slavne zato jer su njihove fotografije sveprisutne, preko političara koji ljube djecu pa do prizora koje dronovi snimaju prije i nakon što bombe razore određeno područje.

Čini se da u takvom svijetu fotografije stvaraju događaje a ne da ih bilježe.  Svojevrsni dokaz  o moći slike/fotografije jest i korporativni biznis prikupljanja i otkupa arhiva; spomenimo samo „Getty Images“ ili „Corbis“ u vlasništvu Billa Gatesa a čije postojanje (i cijena korištenja) imaju veliki utjecaj na uporabu fotografske slike. Zašto? Odgovor je očigledan; naime arhivi u vlasništvu jedne osobe odnosno korporacije upravljaju našom memorijom i reprezentacijom svijeta.

Pogledajmo kako  izgledaju ilustrirani časopisi koji koriste spomenute photo stocks: prepuni su fotografija uljepšanih photoshopom, svijet je napućen lijepim ljudima, rajskim krajobrazima ili cool uređenim domovima. Čak i bijeda mora izgledati lijepo, ukoliko se prisjetimo čestih fotografskih motiva iz primjerice Havane ili nedavno, u the Guardianu, objavljene reportaže o „ljepotama“ porušenih sirijskih gradova. Ukoliko je nekoć fotografija bila povezana s dokumentiranjem prizora i hvatanjem „odlučujućih trenutaka“, utoliko danas oglašavanje fotografijom preuzima dominantnu ulogu. Oglašivačke odnosno unaprijeđene ili izmišljene fotografije zahtijevaju našu nepodijeljenu pažnju.

Naime, posrijedi je ideološka konstrukcija nepostojećeg svijeta osmišljena kako bi se zadržao dominantan status quo kapitalističke proizvodnje i podržala žudnja potrošnje. Usto, vizualni studij recentna su dinamična disciplina  koja je postavila važna pitanja i ponudila još važnije odgovore  o tome kako pristupiti slikama i što nam one govore. Upravo je stoga neobično važna uloga studija fotografije koja pomaže u raskrinkavanju  odnosno p(r)okazivanju  učinaka fotografske propagandne i mogućnosti  konstruiranih foto-prizora u službi kapitala.

Naime, Vladimir Frelih  izložbom jednostavno naslovljenom „O fotografiji“ dokazuje kako je važno naučiti analizirati, promatrati, ovladati jezikom medija i stvarati fotografiju. Upravo su radovi studenata koje propitaju vlastite identitetske mogućnosti i kamerom analiziraju/konstruiraju društvo dobar početak pružanja otpora  korporativnim fotografijama jer promiču osob(e)ni pristup promatranju svijeta kakvog nas okružuje.

Studentski radovi zorno prikazuju kako je  izvanrednom profesoru Vladimiru Frelihu i naraštajima njegovih studenata i studentica uspjelo savladati zadatke poput kako se donose odluke što fotografirati, digitalno razumijevanje i multidisciplinarnost fotografskog medija, komunikacija, vjera u same sebe, moć artikulacije za predstavljanje projekta, suradnja i  samoanaliza. Posrijedi su redom vještine koje im ne omogućuju samo da budu kvalitetni umjetnici nego i kvalitetni dionici suvremenog društva.

S druge pak strane,  fotografija, nesumnjivo, ipak služi kao stanoviti dokaz stvarnosti. Dovoljno se prisjetiti neobično mučnih prizora s fotografija koje su američki vojnici snimili u zatvoru, u iračkom Abu Ghraibu. Ili pak monstruoznih prizora iz koncentracijskih logora snimljenih po oslobođenju njihovih uznika. Spominjem ove fotografije jer su poslužile kao istinski dokaz o događajima te na koncu korištene i kao pravni dokaz za osudu počinitelja.

No jasno je, nema jednostavnog načina kako pomiriti i dokumentarnu i konstruiranu prirodu fotografske slike. Jedan od najznačajnijih fotografa suvremene umjetnosti Jeff Wall iznio je dobru formulaciju o dvostrukoj prirodi fotografske slike kada je napisao da postoje dva ponavljajuća mita o fotografiji; jedan mit govori da fotografija prikazuje istinu a drugi je mit da ju ne prikazuje. I opet, tu je važna Frelihova odlučnost i želja da se potencijali studentskih radova prikazanih na ovoj izložbi razvijaju između ta dva pola;“ istine i laži“ fotografske slike.

Iz radova nastalih tijekom deset godina predanog dijaloga studenata i profesora Osječkog UAOS-a  razvidno je kako je stvorena solidna platforma kojom studenti, budući umjetnici transkribiraju i ispisuju svijet no istodobno svjesni su da je fotografija stvorena zahvaljujući svojstvima kamere i odluke koju donose samo oni pritiskom na okidač.

Naravno,  i za to snose stanovitu umjetničku odgovornost s obzirom da živimo u civilizaciji koje je zdušno i objeručke prigrlila pojam „alternativnih činjenica“ i „post-istine“. U knjizi Susan Sontag „O fotografiji“  koja, vjerujem,  hotimice dijeli naziv s ovom izložbom autorica piše kako su fotografi nekoć, dok je fotografija bila „samo“ obrt, bili smatrani za pronicljive promatrače, „pisare ali  ne i pjesnike“.

Danas kada zahvaljujući dostupnosti tehnologije svatko može napraviti fotografiju no ne može svatko napraviti fotografsko djelo, izložba „O fotografiji“ pokazuje, naposljetku, kako studirajući fotografiju postajemo korak bliže pjesničkom, dakle, umjetničkom poimanju svijeta.

Leila Topić