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Alternative Issue: Dark Parks – the Photos of Stjepan Sedlar

Submitted by on March 5, 2013 – 11:37 amNo Comment

An image from photographer Stjepan Sedlar's Neu Mond book.

Seeing the world through Stjepan Sedlar’s eyes requires a lot of patience and having no fear of the dark. His parents are from Croatia and this Hamburg born photographer, who lives in Berlin, would stray into parks at night taking colour photos without lighting.

It is late afternoon on a cold Sunday in Berlin in the area of Prenzlauerberg. Sedlar, 29, has medium length dark hair and stubble. He rolls a cigarette from his tobacco pouch and proceeds to light it as the last rays of sun begin to fade out of view.

“The reason [for shooting parks at night] was that I love the silence in them the fact that everybody knows these places but only in the day time, myself included. Everybody is so scared of dark parks although there is something so mysterious about them.” Sedlar said.

Many lonely nights were spent visiting around 30 parks in Berlin in the space of one year with only his cigarettes and camera to keep him company. When Sedlar felt that he had found the right spot, with moonlight and streetlights or sometimes neither to guide him, he set up his tripod and turned the setting on his analogue camera to long exposure.The average time of waiting was about 20 – 35 minutes.

Sedlar said: “During this time I just walked around looking out for some new and nice scenery, but it was really, really dark and so of course it was not easy for me to see and so sometimes I was just guessing what I saw.”

Last year he qualified from the Ostkreuz School in Berlin after doing a three-year photography course. A photography agency called Ostkreutz, set up the same way the cooperative Magnum agency started, was eventually turned into the school in 2004.

He remembers being given a camera by his mom when he was younger but not taking that much interest in it. He got involved in doing some filming work for German television before the idea of still photos appealed to him

Sedlar’s park photos are published in a book called Neu Mond. The photos portray an eerily calm atmosphere obscuring what in daylight were loud landscapes where families had picnics and children played on see saws and jungle jims only hours before. One of his teachers described his photos, in this surreal setting, as having the look of coming out of a David Lynch film.

In the final show he did at the end of graduation his work generated a lot of interest. But what does the immediate future hold for this talented photographer who supplements his income by working in the service industry? Stjepan said: “I have these two passions photography and being a barman and I like these two ways of living at the moment. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to say that I will only be a photographer. I want the ability to decide the jobs that I want to take
and those which I need to take for the money.”

 

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