Bosnia. A land that as I child I had only ever heard of on the news. It was that elusive country that you heard was extremely dangerous in the 1990s and you always knew there was a war there but you never fully knew why. I remember seeing Bill Clinton and Jean Chretien on the television talking about Bosnia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia. However, being under ten I never understood what happened there.
As a photographer, I have always had an intense desire to travel. I think all artists have a desire to understand their world, for me, my world has always been international. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. When I was 4 or 5 years old I had a sticker book where you could collect stickers of children from all around the world wearing their traditional clothing. I didn’t know where these places were, but I was determined to collect all the stickers because I wanted to understand the people from there. For me, pictures have always been about understanding something that the verbal and written word can’t always convey. In photography literacy doesn’t matter, it is a global language.
As I grew older I started to do exactly what I wanted, which was traveling. The first few destinations I went to were pretty much on the beaten path. I really enjoyed those experiences. Although I have recently become more interested in discovering places that may not be as well known.
So far, this desire has taken me into Myanmar, the jungles of Malaysia, northern Thailand and many other places. I have done quite a bit of Asia now, and my attention has started to turn to other places, like the Balkans. Maybe it’s because it’s a place that I never really knew much about. Perhpas it’s because all through my childhood I was told it was dangerous and war-torn. Maybe curiosity is just getting the best of me.
For those of you that may not know, the former Yugoslavia was one nation with six states, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Serbia. In short, Croatia, is the most affluent and having the most resources wanted to become independent. Unfortunately, Bosnia and Montenegro weren’t too happy about that and proceeded to invade Croatia. Currently, the countries are all on good terms, but up until the early 2000’s, it was pretty rough in that area.
Today, Bosnia has rebounded significantly, tourism is thriving and the economy has been revived. However, when traveling in Bosnia you can’t escape the memory of the war. Dotted along the highways and towns are ruins of what were once spectacular fortresses, and houses with new roofs.
Bosnia is a beautiful country. It is full of colour and rolling hills and small mountains that seem to go on forever. As you drive along the twisting roads you can see gorgeous valleys full of locals working on their farms. On the streets, you can see vendors selling their products, mostly grapes, onions, garlic, and tobacco.
For me it was so interesting spending time in Bosnia, I learned a lot and saw some really interesting things. I will create some follow up posts to tell you about how I spent my time in Bosnia so you can see and read about some of the things we experienced.