Kitchen Stories from the Balkan
The kitchen is not only the soul and spirit of the Balkan home, it mirrors society as a whole. With this consideration in mind I decided to create a new visual concept about the peninsula, its people and their way of life. When working on the project, my main idea was to present the Balkan through a new, more intimate perspective that differs from the commonly associated with the region war and conflicts. I invite you now to be a guest at a Balkan home! Please support the book publishing and help me speed the project around the world! For those of us still passionate about ink and paper!
Kitchen Stories from the Balkan
The idea for this project was born in September 2010 in Berlin during the “See New Perspectives” Masterclass in documentary photography - a Word Press Photo and Robert Bosh Foundation initiative focusing on the Balkans. With the support of those two organizations I was able to visit and photograph in most of the Balkan countries. Those include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
The people of the Balkans live in the shadow of a long history of wars, conflicts and unresolved ethnic tensions. Much of the energy that could have gone into building a future has been squandered on maintaining those tensions and the result is an impoverished present. Young families must either pay exorbitant rents or live packed like sardines in their parents’ apartments. And most of those apartments are in the hopelessly ugly, crumbling concrete blocks which are the legacy of the communist era.
The term “Balkan” whether it is describing a culture or a geographic area, usually has a strong suggestion of the rural with a heavy overlay of the Orient. In whatever context it is used, the word reverberates with cultural and sociological connotations, with a sense of division and disagreement.
When I set out to tell a story about the Balkans, it was food that sprang to mind as being the only thing people in the whole region agree that they have in common. After five centuries of Ottoman occupation we have all continued to eat the dishes they brought.
Thinking about this shared culinary heritage, I began to wonder what was happening in Balkan kitchens these days.
The kitchen is a multipurpose room, a space which reflects identity and self-perception. It embodies the spirit of the Balkan home and mirrors society as a whole. People in the Balkans would rather spend what little money they have in a cafe than on interior decoration. The functional, unadorned style which results from this conveys a tangible sense of the region’s lost identity, the inevitable legacy of half a millennium under the Ottoman yoke and half a century behind the Iron Curtain.
My photographs from kitchens around the Balkans reflect the reality of the Balkans today as I see it.
Allocation of funds
My wish now is to create a photo- text book (text will be in form of recipes and short stories) about the Balkan Kitchens. The book will visualise the lifestyle and the geography of the Balkan Peninsula and will give the viewer a sense of taste for the place as a whole.
I hope this is a new and interesting way to present this disputable region to the wide public.
To make this book a reality I rely now on your help. I need at least 4500 Euro to design, publish and distribute the book.
Using crowdfunding you can support the book publishing not only by donating money (in fact I prefer you don’t) but by preordering the book, buying prints and postcards, all in connection to the project.
Or you can simply help me spread the campaign around the world.
Thank you so much for your help!
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