BLOCKS 45&70 , NEW BELGRADE , August 2012

BLOCKS 45&70 , NEW BELGRADE , August 2012

Summer 2012, I was visiting the Residential Blocks 45 and 70 in the New Belgrade area of Belgrade. Novi Beograd is a planned city, on the left bank of the Sava river which was previously an uninhabited area, opposite the old Belgrade. Not much attention was paid to detail and subtlety when New Belgrade was being built during late 1940s and early 1950s. The objective was clearly to put up as many buildings, as fast as possible, in order to accommodate a displaced and growing post World War II population that was in the middle of a babyboom. It was for years the biggest construction site in Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia and a huge source of pride for the country's communist authorities that oversaw the project. Work brigades made up of villagers brought in from rural Serbia provided most of the manual labour. Even high school and university student volunteers took part.It was backbreaking labour that went on day and night. With no notable technological tools to speak of, mixing of concrete and spreading of sand were done by hand with horse carriages only used for extremely heavy lifting.

Initially there were great intentions in constructing a 'friendly', 'green' residential district, but the buildings as well as the surrounding walkways and recreational areas complete with hide out 'bunkers' have been neglected owing to lack of state funding. Among the bushes there lie pools of concrete in an enormous unfinished 'WaterPark'. It was august and incredibly hot. The trip organized was set for 12 am onwards a disastrous error already, being an unearthly hour for a photographer to be out, let alone in nearly 40° heat.
The images I came back with , as well as myself, were terribly 'sun burnt', and contrasty. It was really disappointing. I messed around on photoshop trying to calm the contrast. Finally when I hit the Light /Shadow control instead of bringing down the highlights it cancelled all the shadows by mistake. It was a perfect mistake. They have acquired a strange quality of postcards of new industrial, commercial and residential buildings from the 50's and 60's. By losing the dark shadows I was suddenly left with what I had encountered. An unearthly place of no shadowy shelter , the noise of heat and yet a silence and tension of some otherworldly encounter, where everyone has left. Contamination. Danger. And there is a sad loneliness to these images, a place built for people in which to wander, where no one wanders, except to wonder. Again and again I am drawn to digital photography not only for it's quality and definition but also for these unexpected possibilities.

Has been liked by 4

Comments 1

Maristella  Angeli
7 years ago
Maristella Angeli Premium Artist, Painter

Say something

You must login or Sign Up to write a comment Join