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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
EPF 2010 Finalist
The Bosnian Identity
The exteriors of the houses and apartment blocks display a multitude of open wounds. The holes made by machine-gun fire and the white blotches of concrete, used to fill up the gaping cavities created by the bombs, look like imaginary constellations scattered across the whole of Bosnia. Recollection, notwithstanding the implacable passing of time, is swathed with scars, but it is not the destruction that causes us to remember the horrors of war, neither is it purely the pain for those lost; more than anything it is the daily endeavor to recuperate thousands of hidden identities. 15 years after the end of the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia, 30 thousand humans who simply vanished into mid-air are still missing. The International Commission on Missing Persons in Sarajevo has been working non-stop, ever since 1996, with the intent of identifying the missing persons who disappeared during the armed conflicts, thus contributing to the development of an appropriate commemoration of the victims: by giving them back their names in remembrance of the genocide and allowing their families to mourn their own dead at a decent graveside.
From the ‘protected’ enclave in Srebrenica, the scene of the largest-ever massacre in Europe since the 2nd World War, at Cerska, where a populace of peasants was forced to defend itself with only rifles and machetes against Serbian mortars and missiles, down as far as the Drina Valley the carnage carried out by the Serb-Bosnian forces against citizens of Muslim religion is still very vivid in collective Muslim memories. I came into direct contact with a number of people while conciliating both civilian and professional commitment and, without stealing images, mine was more than anything else a co-division of memories and visions, of moments truly experienced and others only imagined. I photographed B&W frozen emotions, a transition still present between past and future: where a kiss rekindles hope, amid the obscure meanderings and backdrops of the mind.
Born in 1985, I’m a freelance photographer and journalist based in Rome. I graduated at the “Scuola Romana di Fotografia” in 2009. In 2007 I started working on long-term projects about homeless conditions and squats in Rome. In Croatia, I worked on the health system and also on a documentary dealing with the living conditions of the Croatian and Bosnian Rome population who live in ghettos financed by the European Community. Currently I’m documenting consequences of the genocide carried out by Serbs against the Bosnian Muslims in former Yugoslavia. In my work I merge my personal experiences and civil commitment, through volunteer work, which allows me to come within close proximity of my subjects and with whom I love to establish human relationships that go far beyond a simple photographic tale. My pictures have been published in some of the most important Italian newspapers and also in some international magazines. I was a finalist for PDN’s 2010 photo annual contest in photojournalism.