Monday, December 6, 2010

Photography Spotlight: Stanko Abadzic

Photography is a powerful medium; a blank canvas that is rarely utilized to its full potential. Once in a while, I will come across an artist that just blows my mind and inspires me to push forward on the long journey that is photography.

Stanko Abadzic is one such artist. Despite his name being "Stanko," this guy puts out amazing work. I first discovered Abadzic's work in an issue of Black & White magazine and went home immediately and searched for more of his work. I love the strong lines which guide his composition and his masterful and powerful use of the contrast between light and shadows.

Born in Croatia in 1952, Abadzic lived in a number of countries, which surely shaped his unique point of view. Particularly evident in most of Stanko's work is a sense of nostalgia which is deeply embedded in his elegant compositions.

Abadzic's work in many cases appears like a throwback to an older era. He carefully and purposefully tries to engage viewers of his pictures on an emotional level, momentarily bringing them back to a simpler time. Stanko openly laments the unwanted by-products of globalization, in particular as they relate to human "connectivity." As people grow more connected to communications technology, Abadzic argues that life becomes faster and that people grow less connected to one another. Frequency of communication has surely increased since the advent of cell phones, e-mail, and instant messaging, but the depth and quality of interactions has likely eroded.

"The faster we live, the less emotion is left in the world. The slower we live, the deeper we feel the world around us."

This is my favorite Abadzic photograph. The lines and composition amaze me. This piece was wonderfully and masterfully composed. These types of photographs have souls.

"I still believe photography can touch people emotionally. I believe a photograph can be a testimony and a document of its time, and that it can inspire us to talk to each other and make a better world."

"We lose our happiness when we lose our sense of identity."

I have always lived near big cities, so the only jungles I have known are concrete ones. I prefer life at a fast pace, but enjoy the rare moments of clarity that life provides. I hope Abadzic's work was as therapeutic for you as it was for me. I may look around for an old manual typewriter. Ironically, without technology and increasing levels of globalization, I would have never come across the work of Abadzic.

A colleague of mine applying to graduate school asked if I would share my old essays. I managed to dig up the files on an old laptop. As I went through my old writing, I was amazed at how jaded my views are today compared to just five years ago. Granted you put your best foot forward in application essays, but a part of me would be astounded if I truly believed even half of what I wrote at the time of its penning. I guess life has taken its licks, but I am still standing. 

To remain idealistic and hopeful in an increasingly cynical world is within itself a revolutionary act.

I have had Jerry MaGuire moments in my life before, and I hope this is not one of them.

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