God Only Knows…

I’m not religious.  Or spiritual.  It’s not that I’m particularly anti-religion, I’m more a-religious, but I can definitely appreciate some of the positive things that have come out of religion – Johann Sebastian Bach stated that all of his music he created for the glory of god.  There is a lot of music that I love that was created for that reason, from the aforementioned Bach to Mahalia Jackson and Stevie Wonder.  I also love the architectural, artistic and engineering feats that people have built for their god, and I love photographing it.

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I really enjoyed taking photos of these mosques in Sarajevo.  Where I’m from we don’t have a very big Muslim population so there aren’t very many mosques.  I would have loved to have entered and seen/photographed what it looked like on the inside, but sadly it was closed.

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The above photo is of a statue of Jesus (obviously) located at the front of the Catholic Cathedral in Sarajevo.  Again, closed to the public.


The photo below is the inside of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  I had never been inside of an Orthodox Church and there were no photos allowed, but the kindly old priest made a concession for me.  He explained to Ma, Pa and I why the entire interior of the church is adorned in paintings of the icons, why there were no pews, the main differences between Orthodox and Catholic.


I’m excited for my upcoming trip to Germany, where I will be taking more photos of religious buildings!

Might As Well Jump


The Story: This is the famed Stari Most, the Old Bridge of Mostar, the simple, historic piece of architecture that sparked my interest in the city of Mostar, the country of Bosnia and the whole Balkan area.  The story behind the bridge itself both broke my heart and warmed it.  The people of Mostar see the bridge as more than just a structure, they consider it an old friend and when it was bombed into the river in November of 1993 the water ran red (it was made from local pinkish stone called tenelija) and the people cried, ‘Our old friend is bleeding!’.  The bridge was reconstructed in 2004 using some of the original materials fished out of the river and was opened with the releasing of doves to symbolize peace not only in Mostar, but for the world.

One of the more popular spectacles is watching locals dive off the bridge.  They will tease and posture until they’ve raised enough money, and after what seems like a hopeless debacle, they jump.

Why I Love It: My favourite part of this the action of the diver’s body – arms open and outstretched and heels kicked up so there is a clear space between the jumper and the bridge.


The Story: See above

Why I Love It: this is the quintessential bridge shot that everyone gets, but I still love mine and think it’s unique.  I love the blue sky against the emerald river, and I love how powerful and stoic the bridge looks, a truly captivating piece of architecture.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun




The Story: I took this photo in Mostar, Bosnia which is located in the southern bit of the country.  Ma and I bussed in from Sarajevo, leaving Pops behind in the hospital as he had bailed on the cobblestones and shattered his elbow, requiring 2 surgeries.  I was totally gutted that my dad wasn’t there with us because Mostar and its iconic bridge was the place I was most excited to see on our trip that year.  Ma and I tried to make the best of it – shuffled over the bridge a few times, looked at some local artwork, shopped the open air markets, eventually turning into a restaurant recommended by our B&B proprietor, Susanna.  After our dinner overlooking the bridge and Neretva River we walked back to our B&B when I spotted this little Bosnian girl all by herself minding her own business in a sea of cobblestones.  I took several snaps of her deciding this was my favourite.

Why I Love It: When I took this photo I was so, so sad, but this girl made me feel a little better.  I love that you can tell she’s a cute girl even though you can’t see her face, but you can see the outline of it.  I love that the black and white gives it a bit of a timeless feel and that she is a single living entity seated amongst a myriad of stones.


The Story: Still just me and Ma in Dubrovnik, Croatia, we headed into the old walled city (which some of you will recognize from that show that has dragons and everyone dies) in the early morning so we could spend most of the day exploring.  We had breakfast in an outdoor cafe on the main promenade (or Stradun), drank copious amounts of delicious coffee and watched the people go by before the hoards of cruise ship tourists overtook the city.  In the middle of breakfast I spotted this little girl in the main square feeding the pigeons, told my mom to watch my stuff so that I could grab a shot before this little muse took off or noticed me.

Why I Love It: Again, the mystery behind it.  Who is she?  Where is she from?  In such a touristy place, she could be from just about anywhere.  I love her playful, youthful dress and I love that you can still see the beautiful architecture of the city behind her.  I’m glad I took as low an angle as I could because I like that the bottom quarter of the photo is just stone floor.


War and Peace


The Story: So my dad is a big time history buff including everything from Genghis Khan to Alexander the Great, the American Civil War to Napoleon and so on.  When we decided we were going to Sarajevo, we all decided that it was a priority that we visit the Latin Bridge: the historical span on which Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in 1914 by Serbian anarchist Gavrilo Princip, sparking a chain of events that led to the start of World War 1.  We got to the bridge in mid afternoon and the weather had held up.  I was surprised at how shallow the Milijacka River was and how pretty the bridge itself is.  There used to be a plaque with Princip’s footsteps embedded on one side of the bridge, but it was removed at some point when the Siege of Sarajevo start in 1992.

Why I Love It: I can’t believe this was once a scene of great chaos not once (WWI) but twice (Siege of Sarajevo), because this photo shows this scene to be not only peaceful, but beautiful!  I love the way the 16th century bridge takes the centre stage among the Viennese Hapsburg-Style buildings, and shows how truly stunning the historic city actually is (you should all visit.).


The Story: We paid a cab driver $20 to take us up Trebevic Mountain and hang out for a half an hour so that I could get some shots of the long abandoned, overgrown and graffiti-riddled bobsled and luge track from the 1984 Winter Olympics, that Sarajevo hosted.  There was no one else up there so we had the entire length to ourselves.  It was covered in moss and graffiti top to bottom and was eerily quiet – difficult imagine the roar of the crowds 30 years previous.  During the Siege of Sarajevo Serb snipers would bore holes in the track for their rifles and then abandoned after the war until people (like me) started discovering how cool and interesting the whole structure is.  Like modern art.

Why I Love It:  I love the colours in this one.  I love how vibrant the moss is in the foreground and the red and blue graffiti is in the background.  It was a sunny day but the forest was dense enough to block out the direct sun.  I like the story this one tells with the moss, fungus and graffiti overtaking the cement structure.  It’s like a complete transformation.

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things…

This week for my inaugural posts on this adventure I would like to share with you all a few of my favourite photos to this point (and the stories behind them).  You’ll notice on here most of my photos are of landscape and architecture.  I’m not so great/experienced at taking shots of people/animals quite yet, but I’m excited to learn!


The Story:  After two flights and a 9 hour train ride from Zagreb, Croatia, we had taken a cab from the train station to our hotel in the middle of the city.  It was dark out but still mild outside (it was early September) and the streets were still pretty lively.  The city had a surprising layer of graffiti which is what I assume comes from the growing pains from a city divided by war just 20 years previous.  Just outside of our hotel, which was set back into a courtyard, was a giant Tom Waits poster, and when I turned around from admiring the poster I saw this woman hanging out the window.  I set my camera to ‘black and white’ and capture my first Bosnian on digital film.

Why I Love It: I love the mystery behind this one.  Who is she?  Who or what is she waiting for?  Maybe she’s just hanging out.  Maybe we would be friends and we could talk about music and art and stuff.  Also, I don’t often shoot in black and white because I like colour so much, but I feel like this photo wouldn’t have the same effect in colour.


The Story:  The above photo was taken on “Coppersmith Street” in Sarajevo, Bosnia.  It was about 1000hrs and the sun was coming up from behind the mountains that envelop the valley in which Sarajevo sits.  My mom and dad and I had finished our breakfast and our first foray into Bosnian coffee and wandered into the Byzantine quarter of the city.  Sarajevo is known for their copper wears and I was excited to buy a copper coffee set (which I did).  The street featured long rows of this kind of set up selling items like coffee sets, tea sets, jewellery, repurposed shell casings and bullets.  The streets were made of slick cobble stones and low wooden roofs.  We met a coppersmith who was taught the trade by his father and his grandfather and gave us a demonstration of how he pounds the sheets of copper into shape and hammers designs into the products.

Why I Love It:  One of my friends told me that when they look at this photo, they can hear the street, and I agree.  I can hear the ‘clink clink clink’ of the hammers and smell the cevapi and coffee in the air and it brings me back to my first day in Bosnia.  The lighting worked very well and I like the depth of the photo.