New Belgrade’s: Blokovi

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The idea for the Blokovi project came to me whenever I would try describe my hometown of Belgrade, Serbia to friends in the west, more so the particular neighbourhood of New Belgrade (NBG) where I grew up. The post-communist high rise concrete buildings referred to as ‘the blocks’ mostly make up New Belgrade. To a foreign eye these buildings can appear rather terrifying and menacing. This is because over here we tend to associate such architecture with commission or ghetto flats that we see on TV shows like The Wire, making a common inaccurate assumption that only destitute people live in such places. However the mix of residents that occupy this particular NBG neighbourhood of “war torn” Serbia come from all walks of life and class. Here you can find a neurosurgeon, a postman and an ex Yugoslav rock star living only doors apart from each other in an apartment building in which they have shared generations of history.

 

Weather it be Belgrade or elsewhere in the Eastern block, for those from there or background heritage , this residential picture is no surprise. There’s a secret life amidst the concrete walls of these offbeat postmodern building structures; the life filled with culture and diversity where each resident is a tale of its own. My good friend Lola, a London based photographer, who for years has photographed her hometown estates of Poland, knew this only too well. Despite having grown up in the West , the two of us remained strongly connected to our childhood memories from the East. We forever retained that feeling of not quite belonging to either place .We would identify with little things that perhaps to someone from there were commonplace , but to us they brought out emotions of what once was home. With a touch of nostalgia, our project tries not only to dispel the common misconceptions but also to capture the atmosphere and little things that make the place come alive.

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Photography ~ Lola Paprocka 

Text ~ Mima Bulj

 

Images from the book Blokovi: Novi Beograd published by Palm* Studios

Prints for sale in Vampir Online Shop 

 



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