Watch out, shooting in progress

Orlovat short cuts

Stefana Savić

When we discover new places, we always get an opportunity to assign – along with our fresh view – new meanings. We can see something that is not obvious. The same happens when we meet a complete stranger with whom we can share more thoughts, feelings and sincere words then with people we know.

I took these photos in Banat district, Vojvodina province, Serbia. The village is known as Orlovat, in Hungarian as Orlód, in German as Orlowat. Its name is derived from a Serbian word orao, eagle. It has less then 2000 inhabitants.

During the last few decades, Orlovat saw a steep decline. Many people left in search of jobs and better life in towns. Still, like many other countryside places in Serbia, it readily exposes its own magic – a mixture of history, nature and characters – providing one keeps one’s eyes open.

Živanov family is an exellent example. Its history, mixed together with landscapes, tells us an intriguing story. The family has opened the doors of their house to me and assumed their roles in staged photography. I called the series Orlovat short cuts. Occasionally a place can “open” to us visitors more then to its own inhabitants. It is also up to us, how much we spectators want to open for all hidden layers that people and places can offer.

Piglet in formaldehyde. Born in 2000 with a trunk, piglet is a specimen of a rare mutation. That strange being is kept on a shelf in a closet of the Živanov family house. Its owner is a veterinarian Dragan Živanov
Interior of the Živanov family house
Marija Živanov
Taken in the manner of a photograph of her great-grandmother Jelena from the 1920s. Identical details are a rug on the ground, a table covered with milestones, a vase with flowers and a pose
Marina Živanov, Dragan’s daughter, costumed for a role of a Banat girl from the old times
  Milica, known for her snake-hunting skills. Her father owns a zoo in Orlovat
Orlovat landscape
Marina posing in a role of a “girl on the bridge”
A seven-day-old rosy-faced lovebird in the private Orlovat’s zoo
A family photo taken after a photograph of the great-grandmother Jelena from the 1920s. All original details – rug, flowers and table – are replicated
Dragan poses for photo art series WATCH OUT, SHOOTING IN PROGRESS
A detail from a typical Banat yard

Referring to the novel by Luigi Pirandello in which film and photograph play an important role, Stefana Savić entitles her work Watch out, shooting in progress. In that manner, she already points out to characteristics of the film frame and photographic picture included in two photographs created in collaboration with Dragan and Jelena Živanov, the members of the household where she stayed in Orlovat. The work consists of two staged photographs. One depicts a man photographed from the back, carrying a jar with the malformed pig in formalin, while the other represents a mysterious woman with a bag, in a pose similar to that of the man, standing leaning on the edge of the Orlovat bridge. They are representations of ambivalent character, not disclosing what the actors will do next, opening the possibility for building up of different scenarios, which is a feature of photographic image, while the film contains a narrative that limits the imaginative potential of the viewer. Precisely the marginal, non-defined situations become a screen on which every viewer projects his or her identity and where their interpretations say more about themselves than the depicted scene does. By staging situations, the photographer creates the mirror in which we discover ourselves and the others.

(from Dislocations: The photo residence in Orlovat 2014 by maramaida)

Osvrćući se na roman Luiđija Pirandelija u kome film i fotografija igraju bitnu ulogu, Stefana Savić svom radu daje naziv Pazi, snima se. Time ona već ukazuje na karakteristike filmskog kadra i fotografske slike koje se nalaze na dvema fotografijama nastalim u saradnji sa Draganom i Jelenom Živanov, članovima domaćinstva kod kojih je bila smeštena u Orlovatu. Rad čine dve režirane fotografije. Na jednoj je muškarac snimljen s leđa, koji nosi teglu sa malformisanim prasetom u formalinu, a na drugoj tajanstvena ženska osoba sa torbom, u sličnoj pozi kao i muškarac, kako stoji naslonjena na ivicu mosta u Orlovatu. U pitanju su predstave ambivalentnog karaktera, koje ne otkrivaju šta će akteri uraditi sledeće, otvarajući mogućnosti za građenje različitih scenarija, što je karakteristika fotografske slike, dok u filmu postoji narativ koji ograničava imaginativne potencijale gledaoca. Upravo granične, nedefinisane situacije postaju platno na koje svaki posmatrač projektuje svoj identitet i njegovo tumačenje govori više o njemu nego o predstavljenoj sceni. Fotograf režiranjem situacija kreira ogledalo u kome otkrivamo sebe i druge.

(Iz teksta Dislokacije: Fotografska kolonija u Orlovatu 2014 , autorke maramaida)