Vladimir Zivkovic

14.04.2011 in10:13 in Miscellaneous -->


“I’m Vladimir Zivkovic from Osijek, Croatia. I’m about to get my diploma in Agricultural economics soon. But I don’t feel like economist or agriculturist – I feel more comfortable being a photographer.

I know it’s gonna be so difficult to make living from photography in my country, especially since I’m not from the capital city but from eastern part, which still has wounds from war from early 1990s.

I’m taking photos for over ten years now. As a teenager, I was fascinated with astronomy, especially with astro photographs from our local astronomy magazine. So I got myself a nice old SLR camera, Pentax MX for shooting night sky, star trails, satelite passes etc. I fell in love with long exposure!

As it happens, I started to use my camera for all kind of ‘usual’ subjects, like nature and cityscapes. 3 years after, I got digital camera, a 4 megapixel Olympus c4000 uz. It was great, but something was missing even I could see photos in the same moment on my LCD screen…another 3 years after, I got my first DSLR, but still something was missing even night photography was great… In 2010 I was blessed. My friend borrowed old Zeiss Ikon, a 1930s camera which shoots on medium format (120 roll) film. He has found some old Ilford film and he asked me to try out the camera, so we were shooting streets at night with my old and broken shutter release cable.

We had a problem how to develop the first film, because in our local photo club everybody forgot how to do it and all the chemicals had date of use expired a long time ago, mostly in the eighties. Internet helped a lot, and we got chemicals from I think the only store in Croatia that sells photo chemicals, films and stuff. When we have developed our film (and scanned in local photo shop for 1$ a frame), I have instantly fell in love with that! I have rediscovered film!

Film has soul, every frame on film is like little touchable piece of art! And tonal range is stunning, you cannot make a big mistake like in exposures with digital camera.

Somehow in the same time as that purchase, I found some plans for building a pinhole camera. I have heard before of that but I was thinking that’s too hard to make. So I started to draw plans for my pinhole camera. I punched a tiny hole in a thin tin metal and made the camera body out of cardboard. First camera was wide pinhole camera that I named Pintax One (after my Pentax camera that I have sold years ago). It had very wide field of view, some 150° by 70°. It used simple shutter made of hard paper. Results were great and only two months after I’ve made that pinhole camera, photos made with it were accepted for the most appreciated photo exhibition in Croatia!

That camera broke and I made another 35mm pinhole camera, Pintax Two with slightly narrower field of view (some 145° by 60°). I have improved shutter – made out of cardboard and duct tape cover.

I also made a medium format pinhole camera with the same type of manual shutter. It’s field of view is about 100° and it has shifted pinhole. Pinhole shifted 10mm up from the center of the frame enables perfect image composition – camera leveled with ground gives image with horizon that fills 1/3 of the bottom of a photo frame. Also, it preserves vertical lines of buildings, so it’s perfect for picturing architecture.

Vintage photography (1800s to 1930s) is something wonderful and I always wanted to take photos with the feel they have. With pinhole camera and black and white film I think I really do that! I really love pinhole photography!

Now I only shoot with my Pintax 6×6 pinhole camera. It’s not hard to carry around tripod, pinhole camera and a 15 megapixel digital camera (as exposure meter), because that camera gives me pleasure of picturing world the way I have always wanted!

Since I don’t travel a lot, My subjects are nature and nearby towns, but I’m happy since these towns have wonderful streets and nature is amazing and gives me a possibility for vintage looking photos.

Several months ago I’ve heard of Pictorialism, a photographic movement from the late 19th century. Some of the pictorialist photographers used pinhole camera (George Davison, for example). That was the moment I said: this is what I make! I have really found myself in that movement which has ended 100 years ago, but who cares, I like what and how I do. In these modern times, for me it is a challenge and joy to take photos with the same technology that was used by early photographers”

CK → It’s always interesting to hear how people get into in pinhole photography. Then later on to see amazing photos they’ve created with cameras made by hand. Being a nature lover, I’ve always liked photos of beautiful trees and Vladimir has not shortage of those in his pinhole photo galleries. I find myself wandering through these peaceful winter landscapes and imaging a place in perfect which lives on in perfect harmony with nature. Even though I know the world is threatened by the grips of war, I find comfort in the idea that artistic expression can remind people of a better places that live on in peace and tranquility. Thanks Vladimir for sharing your creative vision and keep up the great work. -Chris