The Fight

Watching the MMA fights and strongmen competition I photographed a few days ago it is clear how life imitates a fight. Just as in a fight you attack, you defend yourself, you land in a grip that seems unbreakable, you’re helpless and defenseless, you get up, you come back, you turn the table, get out of a deadlock and win or lose at the end. But there’s almost no fight without backing up to reorganize or see your oponent from a distance, no fight without abandoning an attack that proves ineffective or striking when you see a chance. There’s time for an offensive and a time to gather new strength or simply find a new strategy.

It’s not brainless punching around, there’s thinking involved. You adapt to what the oponent is doing. You assess your strategy, see if it’s working or not, and when you know it’s ineffective, you back up, change it and try again. If nothing works, well, sooner or later, you realize you can’t win. And that’s when you stop the offensive.

Everything happens for a reason, they say. Just like in the movies. No word or back story or setting or prop or situation is there for no reason. They play a role, they’re catalysts, game changers, accelerators, turns, twists and supplements. And they all shape the main story. Life in fact is totally the same. With one crucial exception. You can’t predict the end. You do control the main story to some degree. Mostly just points of it that are not neccessarily beats (the most important structural elements of a plot in a screenplay).

You control your decisions based on where you think they’ll take you, and that’s when you imagine the story ahead. Maybe it plays out like you imagined, maybe it doesn’t. In a sense we generate turns and twists, the smaller, but quite important elements of the plot, but beats usually happen independently. You don’t chose to win or lose and have it your way. You make a decision what to fight for, but life will hand you the outcome.

I’ve seen my life go through several beats and twists and turns, produce many side stories, been followed by influential back stories, and I hope they all made sense. That where I am right now is right where I need to be. And that the decision I have practically already made is the right turn. I don’t see the following pages of my screenplay, but I trust the screenwriter.

I think the impossibility of winning four Press Photo awards in one competition is mostly a good script element, a catalyst to emphasize the main theme of the story. Being shortlisted for Best Jobs Australia was another catalyst, generating an enormous support that was again a catalyst. Now, you could think that not getting into the finals for the job was a setback, but you’d only be partially right. The experience of the shortlist gave me the awareness of the support my work has, and how people see me (which is mostly better than I see myself of course), but doing everything in that scale and so good and not getting into the finals didn’t just beat me down. It gave me the contrast between seeing a future and believing in it again after a long time, and falling back into a state of mind where everything is just idle running, time going by, the clocks ticking in silence, life happening outside.

It sounds pretty gloomy, but I had a backup plan. I fight on, but I’m backing off from this offensive and this strategy. I see this setup isn’t working in any way. I am waiting for a chance now. Maybe it comes, maybe it doesn’t. But I now know what chips out and what doesn’t. Well, mostly what doesn’t. And a year or two ago, I’d still be on the offensive, with the same moves, same decisions … Not anymore. I’ve learned my lesson. Nothing works where I am right now. Geographically, politically, socially, economically. It’s time to take a step back and find a different way. Not an easy task when everything has been tested and proved ineffective.

Everything I did in these ten years has lead to here, where I realize I am doing things right, but I live in the most corrupt country in the world and have no chance of making a living with what I do. I’m not quitting, I’m just not on full power. I stepped back and I’m considering my options.

It feels completely pointless to go for new awards, attend new workshops etc. if I remain here in the corruption mekka of the world, the shithole no one ever glances at. And yes, I call it a shithole, but the truth is I love this country for it’s landscapes, its natural beauty, the size, and of course the MINORITY of good people living here. However, since we got our own country, we’ve proven that all we wanted was to steal like Belgrade stole from us under Yugoslavia. Every other person here will rob you of something.

You don’t get anywhere in this country if you don’t know how to steal. The country is overwhelmed with people stealing in a multitude of ways. Of course, because a normal businessman in Slovenia is not looking for ways to gain advantage over its competition, or improve to achieve perfection or quality. Their focus is on finding ways to screw over the workers, tax authority, subcontractors, everybody in the way of maximizing their own profit, so they can buy themselves a profanely expensive car and spend two months on a sail boat somewhere on the coral reef. Bribery is just another form of income, and they don’t compete with competition. They find a way to discredit and destroy it. Shit, if you suck, it’s normal you need to destroy others better than you. They don’t have the brainpower to come up to their level. They’re the lowest they get.

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It is this kind of immoral, self-centered scum that’s overrun our country and made us number one in corruption. Can you imagine we’re on top, the very top of corruption scale IN THE WORLD!? Kenya is second! And our arrogant “bussinessmen” can’t get their heads out of their asses! The EU will make them. Everybody is ignoring the fact that European countries hate working with us (yes, because our company fail to do their job (correctly) and screw them over way too often), but they have to, because we’re on the Schengen border. This summer, Croatia is coming in, but our companies are still so arrogant that they don’t anticipate what will happen. If those countries don’t have to work with us anymore, and if they hate it anyway, do you really think they will, when we’re no longer on the Schengen border?!? And it just serves us right!

This country also destroys or ignores everything that stands out of the avarage. Negative selection is the norm. We’ve seen designers being denied work in Slovenia and becoming one of the most desired designers in the automobile industry in the world. Actors not making into our acting school and becoming successful actors in American TV shows and big Hollywood productions. And I’m not talking about the crap part of tv shows and movies! But that’s what we are. Egotistical. If we can’t be better, we’ll make sure they are worse. We won’t employ them, because they might be better than us and they might take our job that we perform carelessly and only to earn money to take care of ourselves. It’s been more than five years ago, when things were still somewhat ok, since I first predicted that this country will be ruined by egotism and relativism. Welcome to the future.

I don’t say this often enough, they tell me. It is quite shameful of the country’s media that there have been no job offers even after so much exposure and seven Slovenia Press Photo awards. I consider it normal. It doesn’t surprise me at all. Jobs are handed out through very different criteria here. (remember where we are on the chart?) And besides, there’s no money. Which is why I had enough and decided the only option for my life to move forward is to go out. We all know the only way to survive in Slovenia is to go abroad. We work here with no prospect for the future, no money, simply because we think we have to work to earn a living. But very few of us realize we’re working, and a lot of times wearing ourselves out, for nothing. We don’t make a living, we’re deadlocked in place. So here’s my point: why work then? Where’s the sense in working for a humiliatingly low fee while your boss makes a living and drives a BMW? Fuck them!

So my only chance was Australia. It didn’t happen. You can imagine what my other option is. And I’m taking it now.

The Australia defeat gave me something else. The power to do the only thing right now that I think makes sense. The only thing that has a purpose. My long awaited, even longer contemplated, for a long time avoided project. It’s been on the agenda for a very long time, but I keep postponing it. It’s not photography. I’ll be working as a photojournalist the way I’ve been working so far, but as it proved, it’s not taking me anywhere. No, this will be something much larger, and in the coming weeks and months, I’ll finally put my words into action. I am working on my website right now. After that, the project will commence with interviews. I owe it to A LOT of people, but mostly my parents.

It’s a project I can’t expect any future from it. It’s not a bread winner, it’s nothing in terms of carreer or making a living. But I let go of those ambitions in this shithole. I’m doing this for a greater purpose. Even if I later decide the project will never go public, it is important that I do this. It is also the only way to make sense of my life. And that’s why I’ve avoided it for so long. Because I know nothing makes sense here. But fortunately that’s just a byproduct. The much larger main objective of the project has very little to do with me and a lot more to do with people around me who need to know they haven’t failed. It’s easy to believe otherwise.

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One Day In a Year

Just like UFO enthusiasts, bikers, environmentalists, cults and just about every variety of worshippers, people with a sense of culture gather for a day to pay tribute to a dying value. Culture. We celebrate it on the anniversary of the death of our most famous poet, France Prešeren, the author of our national anthem, which – how appropriate – is a toast. But yesterday was amazing. Kranj, where Prešeren worked as a lawyer, was packed with people. Choirs sang, chariots carried people on a round ride, the town celebrated Prešeren’s times. The poet himself and his beloved came to life. As well as many old citizens, dressed the way they were back then. A great day and a wonderful event!

However, singing started an evening before. All around the town. Not a big turnout and mostly old people, but today’s crowd made it all fair and square.

A shop window
In front of Prešeren's house
Main square
In front of the Prešeren's Theatre
Hostages (of the wind) listening to the choir in front of Prešeren's Theatre.

Yap, for those of you who don't know him - this is him, back from the grave.

Playing an old game, popular in Prešeren's times

 

In the front…

And in the back:

Four kids and a baby. Who says I can’t have fun?! I’m the most chidlishly enthusiastic person in the photo! (Photo by Matej Slabe)

Check out the girl on my right, going: “Wow, this guy’s really missing some screws… He must be mental.”

In many ways I am. ;) Just so you know I’m not exactly a 24/7 grumpy guy, even if I love to rant about things that are just wrong. And nevermind I look ill. I figure I’m just tired, sleep deprived. But even if I am (and don’t know it yet), hey, you know, famous after death and stuff… :D

A Horseride to a Distant Time

The eighth of February is the anniversary of the death of our greatest poet France Prešeren. He died in my home town and every year on this day, we have an event called Prešeren’s Fair with stands and folklore dances, figures from Prešeren’s time etc. The president of Slovenia and the minister of culture also came to visit this year. From all that’s happening (old printing, games, folkore, books etc.) here’s just a few picks, the rest is at www.dax-photo.com

New: Visitors were able to have their picture taken and inserted into an old photograph.

President of Slovenia and the Minister of  Culture looking at books about France Prešeren.

Meeting actors on the streets of Kranj…

…and riding home in a carriage. :D (The sign left actually reads this is a carriage stop)

Well, they didn’t ride the carriage, but I did. :D

We we’re doing a pretty good job of following their fast cars.

And this is why. Check out the paddles. Gas and brakes I guess. :D Not your usual carriage. 

Jumping, Climbing, Spawning etc.

I’m not in my very best condition generally, but this week was no vacation. Here are a few different images out of those seen on www.gorenc-on.net (my site is slowly being remodelled). Last weekend I was at the only place in my home town that is known to be very cold. Under the ski jumping hill. My batteries kept panicking about them dying, but they did alright.

In case you’re wondering, the first guy’s warming up while the other one is parking a van. ;) :D

On Friday, we were spawning. :) I can’t actually post the good ones, so here’s the deal. The point is to dig a spawning hole in the river bed, just like the trout do, put half-hatched eggs in, and cover them with pebbles and stones to protect them. I’m half way watching these guys grow up. :) And since there’s half a million of them, when I meet a marble trout in the future, I have a great conversation opener: “Hey, I knew you when you were still in two places.” :)

Yesterday, I went to another place tht ranks high on my ‘most cold’ chart. To Mojstrana where they had the ice climbing world cup. Sure enough, the Russians felt at home (except for the fact that hardly anyone spoke Russian), but they were up against two of ours. Matevž Vukotič (SLO) battled a Russian of course in the final and finished second. In women’s competition, only Russians were on the start list. Always looking for a miracle, I thought a Slovenian would win, but surprise surprise the first, second, third and fourth place went to Russia. And that is the total number of women competitors. :) As for the climbing… They are (wait wait, I’m processing) amazing! Spyders… Anyway, the images are mostly from the background. :)

Calculating the partial results…

Matevž Vukotič blowing air into his climbing shoes to warm them up (literally) before the final climb.

Russians celebrating after Pavel Batushev won the competition.

There was probably the first event in a series of events that will take place in the beginning of February when we comemorate the death of our greatest poet France Prešeren today. An exhibition of his works published by our biggest publisher, editor, journalist etc. Janez Bleiweis was opened in his home town. A lot of people spoke, but the interesting part was when editors and journalists recited Prešeren’s work.

Images of 2008

2008 has been quite a busy year. So I decided to go through the images and see what was going on. I excluded features like the water problem of Egypt and the shift in lifestyles in modern Cairo. Nor did I include the garbage problem of Naples or Tuscany street photography. I chose the events of 2008 instead, the images taken for Dax Photo, Gorenc-on.net, Slovenia Times & Planet Tuš. So here’s my 2008 in pictures.

Mateja Robnik (SLO) celebrates her result after the 2nd run of giant slalom at the 44th Golden Fox in Maribor on 12th January.

 

Loyalty to Laško beer at the Kranj carnival, 2nd February 

 

A member of Godlarji carnival society representing a priest, but with a statement. Šenčur near Kranj, 3rd February

 

The Venice carnival, 5th February

 

The home town of Slovenia’s greatest poet France Prešeren celebrates 8th February, the day when he died in Kranj, by reenacting the times when he lived.

 

Balloons fill up with hot air at the Bled balloon festival taking place from 8th to 10th February

 

Nightwish performing in Ljubljana’s Tivoli hall on 4th March

 

Mario Matt (AUT) finishes giant slalom at the Vitranc Cup in Kranjska Gora on 8th March

 

Massimo Bianconcini (ITA) performing a stunt at the Masters of Dirt: Night of The Jumps in Graz, Austria, on 15th March.

 

Michael Uhrmann (GER) at the Planica Ski Jumping finals on 16th March

 

The year’s season of events held by old car enthuisiasts began with the first rally Ljubljana Classic on 16th April

 

Bon Jovi performs at Magna Racino in Ebreichsdorf near Vienna on 4th June

 

U.S. president George Bush visits Slovenia for the EU US Summit on 9th June

 

Spectators watch aerial stunts at the Maribor Airshow on 15th June

 

Alanis Morissette performs at Vienna’s Gasometer on 2nd July

Avril Lavigne performs on her last concert in the European leg of the Best Damn Tour in Leoben, Austria, on 9th July

 

The start of the night run around Lake Bled on 12th July

 

Alenka Godec performs at the opening concert of the traditional summer music evenings in Škofja Loka, 19th July

 

The final preselection for the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Slovenia was held in Casino Tivoli in Lesce on 9th August

 

A tired visitor of numerous exhibitions at Visa Pour l’Image rests in front of  a gallery. Perpignan, France, on 6th September

 

A clown playing a magician (Teater Cizamo) performs at the opening of a new playground in Kranj on 13th September

 

The Red Bull Upstream Wakeboarding is introduced in Tacen, Slovenia, on 20th September

 

Madonna performs at Vienna’s Donau Insel on 23rd September

 

Planet Tuš shopping mall opens in Kranj to a crowd of people wrestling for gifts, prizes and free food on 22nd September

 

Nermina Sijamhodžič wins the title of Slovenia’s Miss Hawaiian Tropic 2009 in Atlantis spa on 2nd October

 

Daša Podržaj gets the Miss Hawaiian Tropic crown after Nermina Sijamhodžič failed to perform her duties as a miss, the organizers report.

 

A guest tries out a Nikola Tesla experiment in Bistra Technical Museum at the Discovery Channel & their Slovenian representative Sibila d.o.o. celebration of localising Discovery Science for Slovenian viewers on 2nd October

 

The advertising agency Leo Burnett present the Best Act Award for the best smart add at the Golden Drum Festival in Portorose, Slovenia, on 9th October

 

Žana Ramšak wins Miss Buši competition. The contest is annually held to select the personality, talent and beauty among pregnant competitors, organized by a popular baby care shop Buši from Ljubljana. Ljubljana castle, 17th October

 

Visitors wait for the start of the charity concert ‘Can You Hear People Sing’ in the Brdo Congress Centre near Kranj, Slovenia. After being the center of EU presidency for half a year, the congress centre is now used to hold cultural events, mostly quality concerts. 18th October

 

Queen Elizabeth II visits Slovenia for the first time on 22nd October

 

Neisha performs at a charity concert in Tržič, Slovenia, on 25th October

 

A tired competitor walks to his car after the 13th Ljubljana Marathon on 26th October

 

David Rodman and Marcel Rodman of Acroni Jesenice wait for their turn on ice at their Ebel League hockey match against the Austrian Kac Klagenfurt on 11th November

 

A member of the Magical Theatre Serpentes performs at the Gaia Kingdom in Postojna Cave, a media event in promotion of the Postojna Cave tourism and future development. 12th November

 

Members of the Slovenian Police Orchestra rest before their concert in Brdo Congress Centre on 15th November

 

Maja Vidmar (SLO) after having missed only one grip to get to the top of the wall at the final competition of the IFSC Climbing World Cup in Kranj, Slovenia, on 16th November. She won silver.

 

Klemen Bečan (SLO) wins the first gold medal for men in climbing at the final competition of the IFSC Climbing World Cup in Kranj, Slovenia, on 16th November

 

Vlado Kreslin performs at the bowling alley of Planet Tuš shopping mall in Kranj on 21st November. Their bowling frequently hosts concerts and parties.

 

After finally opening the misterious Kranj underground tunnels to public, the underground became the venue of many events, including the exhibition of advent wreaths on 23rd November

 

After years of warm winters, first snow came to Slovenia on 24th November.


David Coverdale of Whitesnake performing in Munich, Germany, on 26th November

 

Alice Cooper performs in Munich, Germany, on 26th November as part of a tour held with Whitesnake.

 

The lighting up of Christmas lights in Kranj was the beginning of freezing period for photographers. It also brushes off on their agrression as seen on this photo, hahahaha :D  28th November


Zoran Predin performs at a gala concert of Slovenian comedian Tone Fornezzi Tof in Medvode on 29th November

 

St. Nicholas visits children at the Planet Tuš shopping mall in Kranj on 6th December

 

Kid Rock performs in Schladming, Austria, on 7th December

 

The city of Kranj receives a mascot, an elf living in the underground tunnels. 13th December

 

Santa’s Elves arrive in Kranj with their machine to determine whether children were good or bad and a book where they wrote the names to later forward to Santa Claus. 17th December

 

Werner backstage in make-up of the New Year’s concert held by the local TV station at Planet Tuš Kranj on 18th December

 

The Slovenian modelling agency Bronz hosts a party and awards their top models of the year. 19th December

 

Santa Claus arrives in Planet Tuš Shopping mall to present gifts to children and employees on 20th December.

 

People visiting Kranj’s Planet Tuš shopping mall, their bars, cinema and bowling, listen to the Christmas concert held by the France Prešeren Choir on 20th December.


People cheering on the streets of Kranj minutes after midnight, 1st January 2009


 

 

The Advent Wreaths in the Underground Tunnels

The underground tunnels of Kranj are getting more and more popular. There was an advent wreath exhibition in there today, and it was crowded with people. The flow (and since these are tunnels, a flow is the only type of motion) actually stopped at times – yes, we had traffic jams.

Florists presented their wreaths and other advent art, all backed by somewhat mysterious or a bit spiritual music. The tunnels are yet to present the elf that lives in there from now on… That’ll happen in the coming month.

More photos at www.gorenc-on.net

New Wine Baptism – Underground

Yes, again. A day after my post about the tunnels I ended up going there pretty unexpectedly to see the baptism of new wine. Lots of wines to taste all around the tunnels – pretty nice to see, if you know what was there two years ago. I dont drink wine bytheway, I don’t drink alcohol at all, so I wasn’t tasting. I just documented.