Index World Press Photo
September 2011 | Edition Fifteen     

Serbian freelance Marko Risovic likes to get very close to his subjects as a photojournalist which, he concedes, is a difficult way to operate.

  Marko Risovic

“I like to work without being noticed and without interfering in specific moments of intimacy,” says Belgrade-based Marko. “It is probably every social documentary photographer’s dream and it’s really not easy to achieve when you are physically so near to subjects.”

Thirty-year-old Marko’s work has been published in many regional and international magazines, newspapers and web editions including National Geographic Serbia, Polaris images and Status magazine.

He has a long list of awards from Press Photo Serbia and other imaging organisations.

“The main component, in my experience, is time. When you spend a lot of it with people, even with teenagers - who are already annoyed with many things - they really do start to forget about you eventually.

That’s why I like long-term projects. As the name suggests, you have a lot of time to get close to your subject and to share moments without being noticed. Honesty in the frame is at the very top of my priorities, just next to emotion. I never pose anything for these kinds of stories. It’s quite different when I am doing portraits, which I also like very much.

The story “New dawn over Carpathians”, featured here, was shot during the World Press Photo Masterclass “See New Perspective”. It is an attempt to reflect the modern generation of Romanian teenagers born after the fall of communism, highlighting their hopes and dreams and the opportunities they have in a country of many contrasts. 

I was encouraged to do it despite all the barriers – I didn’t know a word of the Romanian language, I was going to do story about a population much younger than me and in very sensitive period of life for them. But once I arrived in Romania, everything was great, with help from my dear colleague photographers and all the nice people I met along the way. It took a lot of patience, walking around and waiting for people to accept me and forget my camera. Once it happened, everything else was very natural. For two months of my life, I felt like teenager again.      

My favorite photo from this specific story is the one with two sisters, Silvia and Elizabeth, wiping their faces with little yellow towel.

All the important things I was talking about are there: intimacy, emotion, atmosphere and a beautiful range of colors and shapes making the picture look almost like a person and it’s reflection in the mirror. It tells a great deal about the life of girls and how close as sisters they are to one another.

I was in the right place at the right time - very early in the morning - and very sleepy as well. There was just enough time for one shot and that was it. All the time spent with them beforehand - talking, taking a lot of posed and useless photographs - paid off in this single moment.”

Marko says his plan now is to balance his work as a photojournalist with more personal projects.

Copyright 2011, all rights reserved by the photographers