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Balkans – Beast and the Beauties


2000 > 2002 – Sofia, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje

The word Balkan originates from two Turkish words meaning blood and honey. The media have already sufficiently exploited the blood aspect, therefore during my trips to the region I chose the part of the bee. In an attempt to discover youth I feel I have uncovered delicate flowers emerging from a hard and brutal townscape.
The identity crisis relating to the conflicts of the 90′s come from a process of exclusion. Peoples identities were defined by external references such as religion, nationality or ethnic origin. These factors inevitably create physical and mental barriers.
The young people whom I met, however, looked into themselves for their identity, an identity based on their own body, their own self. Limits and boundaries are more the consequence of their own internal struggles.
Balkan youth are both individualist and transnational, democratic but not coloured by politics. They quietly demand a more favourable social and economic climate in order to control their own destinies. However, as change is slow to come, many of them dream of leaving for a better place, a western Eldorado.
In a discussion with Ismaïl Kadaré, Alain Bosquet observed : “European mentalities come together quickly, without apparent effort (…) Mentally and spiritually Europe is unified, or on the point of unity. The “common market” of spirit already exists but without the need for treaties and summits.”
From Sofia to Sarajevo, my itinerary was defined by this spirit, my counterparts, my “compatriots”.

To read the captions check the gallery hereunder

  • This project won Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique 2003.
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