Macedonian New Political Photography1

It is not easy to talk about political photography in Macedonia. As a matter of fact, it is not easy even to talk about the term photography in Macedonia. Why is that so? Due to a very simple reason: There are not any schools of photography in Macedonia. Or, let me put it this way: There are no any educated personnel in photography in Macedonia. We can put a stop here and end this article.

Nevertheless, we can speak of a kind of photography that unconsciously, but tendentiously and slowly, acquires the classification of political photography as a part of journalist photography.

The term Political Photography as such does not exist! However, being a society of barely two million media consumers and over a hundred transmitters, Macedonia can definitely be considered as the place where political photography was born. Why are all of these two million human beings here definitely the entire number of media consumers? It is so because the most common person in Macedonia lacks the means to spend his free time in various manners, which makes him miserable and ordinary and thus forced to spend his only free time in front of the TV at home. In the term of his free time, a dozen of TV stations are struggling for domination through the unique most popular broadcast - THE NEWS!

The situation with the printed media is much more expressed. Statistically, there is most probably one printed medium per fifty thousand residents in Macedonia. It is a total chaos.

What was happening with the printed media before the various and multi-circulated pages appeared? There were five newspapers and one magazine! The need for photography was scarce or none at all. The quantity as a prerequisite for quality today is not a strict rule here. It is particularly not so in Macedonia where the incident is a rule and the rule is an exception.

Honestly speaking, with the production of the multi newspapers and mega magazines, people with cameras who knew how to take photosbecame wanted. And again, the result of the lack of need for photos in the not distant past, which led to lack of interest for any industrial or educational activity in the area of photography, was shortage of essentially educated people (read: professionals). So, people with cameras who knew how to use them were recruited, given promises, paid, and bought by the editors.

The matters drastically changed with the beginning of the Kosovo Refugee Crisis. At that time literally all the media from the world came to Macedonia! Our professionals had their first contact with real professionals. They saw how cameras were used, how films were done and developed, what vehicles were driven, what briefcases carried, what phone calls made, what clothes worn…. What a shock!

We were not the only ones and we were definitely far away from the good ones. So, in historical time, photographs passed by us, we saw others taking them and we envied them - but we also learned!

The daily VEST made a big leap. While the other printed media had one (sometimes not even one) photographer, injected financially Vest employed up to four people who knew how to use the camera. The supply of sophisticated photo equipment increased the possibility for a rapid development of journalist photography. It was a kind of journalist photography.

However, as with all the other matters, the journalist photography is experiencing deviations in Macedonia as well. In order to make this clearer, it is necessary to define the term journalist photography: An area of photography dealing with taking photographs of events and happenings of a particular importance with the aim of presenting and explaining them, often followed by a written text that accompanies the photography. The journalist photography is here divided into two main directions: Social and Documentary photography (known as live photography) andpress photography!

The Social and Documentary photography is a way of researching a particular subject through a photo and graphic technique. Time is dedicated to the subject, as well as material, money, equipment, feelings - even oneself. We know about cases when a few years of one's own life were wasted on some assignments and projects. Eugene V. Smith, (Magnum Photos) who spent two years on his Pittsburgh Project, is one of the most brilliant documentaries of all times. James Nayckoui, who spends not less than a year on each of his projects, is considered to be the best war photographer after Robert Cappa. Nan Goldyn spent 10 years working on his Ballad for Sexual Addiction, a work that is among the most significant achievements in modern documentary photography at the end of the 20th century. This work is not yet completed.

Press photography is photography intended for the printed daily information services. It does not have long duration and dedication; it does not contain research, deliberations, or depth. There is just one photography describing an event, most frequently associated with a specific day. That is it.

We can claim with insolent arrogance that Macedonia does not have Journalist Photography. It only has press photography. The region is small and the number of people even smaller. Lots of visas and even more money are needed to do something more in one's life and one is compelled to be professional in a field in which one should not be interested - politics - because of the geo-political, strategic, and economic position that surrounds him.

Interest sells newspapers. The one with more politics will make more money. The photographers are only taking photos of daily political events - shaking hands, signing, press conferences, daily showing-off, faces, guest visits, seeing-off, chasing, and embarrassment. These are the same photographs of the same events and faces. All these and all of them exclusively associated with POLITICS.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the country of political photography.