PHOTOGRAPHER: Stevan Tontich
CAMERA: Hasselblad 500c + Carl Zeiss T* Distagon 80mm
FILM: Fuji Velvia 50
DEVELOPED: The Darkroom
SCANNED: Self scanned with Epson V550
LOCATION: Una National Park, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Introducing Stevan Tontich. Stevan was born and raised in Bosnia however he now resides in the United States of America. “I often find myself taking photographs of distant locations, some as far as Japan, but I seldom, or never, embark on a photographic journey in my country of birth. This series is a small attempt to begin to right this wrong. Bosnia is beautiful place. Due to 1990s war and the fear of mine fields, it is not yet a favourite destination for photographers, and much of its beauty remains a mystery, some even for those who live there. Una National Park is defined by the beautiful river Una, which meanders through the extreme northwest corner of the small country. Legend has it, the river was named by Romans, who found it so unique in its beauty, they named it “Una” – the one and only. The portion running through the park cascades down generating beautiful waterfalls, several of which run through small communities (Martin Brod is the best known one), in some cases meters away from the local dwelling places. This series was taken on a beautiful Sunday morning in early June, with the medium format Hasselblad 500c camera and Velvia 50 film.” Stevan advises that the mine fields are deep in the countryside and on mountain passes, but are well marked. For your safety, he recommends staying on roads and paths and not meandering into unknown and unmarked land and certainly not if you see a red or black mine field sign.

“Some of my earliest childhood memories involve looking through Cokin filters and seeing the world in different colours. My grandfather (Miloard Jojic Brko, EFIAP) was a professional and an art photographer, and growing up in Sarajevo, Bosnia I had ample opportunity to “play” with some of the gear. My photographic interests grew in my teenage years, and I remember asking grandpa to teach me how to take photographs and develop film at the age of 13. Soon, I found two school-related locations to develop my own film, and make photographic prints. I shot with borrowed Pentax Spotmatic and Rolleiflex 2.8. When I turned 18, I left for America, and photography stopped being a part of my life until almost 20 years later, when it was re-ignited with my growing interest in the digital art photography and camera club membership. In 2015, in full swing with my digital Olympus OM-D E-M1, I decided to pick up the the old Spotmatic – which made its way with me to America, and stayed with me through all my adult life, boxed up for most part. I saw something in film, and in the film process, which I never could see in digital. It was harder, slower, imperfect, frustrating and it even smelled (at times)…and I realised that this was how it was always supposed to be for me. I quickly fell back into it: film cameras were now much more affordable, and there was still film!  I still shoot digital, but – when I shoot film – I feel “a photographer” and enjoy my own work more.”

“There is a freedom that comes with photographing the street, landscape or travel scenes with a camera which has two or three settings – aperture, shutter speed and focus. There is joy that comes from seeing the negative after development. There is patience that grows from limited number of frames. There is contemplative intent in every shutter release. There is fun in sharing with like-minded people. I hope it never stops.”

Check out more of Stevan’s work on his website.hasselblad 500c hasselblad 500c hasselblad 500chasselblad 500c hasselblad 500c hasselblad 500c hasselblad 500c hasselblad 500cInterested in submitting to LENSES&LOCALS Film Features? Find out all about them, here.