Street photography has always been something of a debate. While the social media landscape is currently awash with “IG photographers,” many of which seemingly crop up out of no where with more followers than miles on their car, there are still the OGs that have been in the trade and have been hitting the hard-knock streets for years, decades even for some. Sure photography is subjective, but there’s a lot you can’t learn with just a few YouTube lessons and an expensive camera. Street photography seems to be the in-trend thing, and while it seems as if anyone can pick up it, what with the iPhones fancy new camera and all, it’s actually much more than just point and shoot. Take the legendary street photographer Boogie for example, a man who grew up on the streets of Belgrade, the capitol of Serbia.
The love of all things street, from the grit and the grime to the everyday nuances, came first and foremost as a passion. Photography followed suit, and having taught himself the trade, he’s now regarded as one of the most prolific and iconic streets photographers of his generation. Far from your feet dangling off the roof of a building shot or a ratchet party with flash content, Boogie’s frames encapsulates a breadth of character and narrative that cannot be found just anywhere. It takes days upon days of shooting–for Boogie, that’s practically everyday while juggling two kids–to be able to snap the type of hard-hitting, thought provoking and highly captivating content you’ll find in his impressive oeuvre. But alas, as the old adage goes, a picture speaks a thousand words, and with that, we invite you to check out the selection Boogie made specifically for us from his archive throughout the feature. And while pictures are obviously nicer to look at than words, we still think the exclusive interview below that we did with Boogie on the journey he took to becoming a renown photographer, as well as where he’s at now in his career, is still worth observing.
For starters, how did the streets become the focus of what you wanted to document? Did this happen organically, or was it predetermined–something you’ve always wanted to put into frame?
I was born and raised in Belgrade. Its an urban environment… I pretty much grew up on the streets, so I think it’s quite natural that the streets are where I get my inspiration from. I’m attracted to all things street, from its grittiness, rawness and textures of concrete, to the faces of people going through day-to-day struggles.
The subject matter that you capture ranges from the poetically innocent to the eye-opening intense. How did you train yourself to be able to handle such diverse situations? Were you under the guidance of someone else?
I’m completely self-taught–not a single day of formal art education. Basically, my dad got me into photography. Both my dad and my grandfather were amateur photographers, so cameras were always around. About the situations I encounter, I never leave the house without at least one camera on me, and whatever comes my way, I shoot. Sometimes it’s the innocent, sometimes not… I can’t control that, I just shoot… I just react.
You’re regarded as a veteran when it comes to street photography. If you go talk to the younger you when you started off shooting, what would you tell yourself?
To just follow my heart and you can’t go wrong.
“Traveling can work wonders, to see how other people live is priceless. It gives you a better sense of where you stand in the world.”
Photography must have taken you all over the place. What’s been the a few stand out things that you’ve learned through all this traveling?
The most important thing is to follow your gut instincts, and to treat people with respect, as you would like to be treated. When you give respect, you get it back.
Are you currently experimenting with any new techniques, approaches or subject matter as of late?
Yeah, I’m really obsessed with the wet plate collodion process with big wooden cameras–a technique from the 1800s. It’s totally opposite to my street work. The results are fantastic, although the technique itself is a pain in the ass.
What are the moments when you feel most challenged as a photographer now-a-days? What about the times when things just work like magic?
Sometimes you are just not inspired, so you have to push yourself. It’s always good to take a trip, change the environment, or even get a new camera, new lens… that can help. Every new lens gives you a new perspective, new vision of the world. Traveling can work wonders, to see how other people live is priceless. It gives you a better sense of where you stand in the world.
What’s an average day like for you currently?
when I am not away on a job, I drive my kids to school at 7:30am, then go out, walk around and shoot …. I shoot every day, I live photography. Then of course, I drive my kids to karate, this and that. I’m a father of two, so there are always things to be done.
Is there anything inspirational that you’ve come across recently that doesn’t necessarily have to do with photography?
I’m obsessed with vinyl. I collect ex Yugoslavian pop and electronica. I’m also obsessed with turntables, tube amplifiers,… it never ends. There is always a better system, a better set of cables, better turntables… There is no such thing as the final upgrade. aaaaaaagh!
Lastly, What are the enjoyments in life for you-big or small?
family, photography, food, audio stuff