Tomislav Marcijuš is an internationally renowned photographer living in Osijek, Croatia. He started experimenting with film and analog camera after graduating from architecture school, this is how his passion became his profession, and later the Marcijuš Studio brand. Working with a documentary and artistic approach, the photographer told us about his recent project Baranja Dreaming, in which he reassessed his days in the countryside over the past ten years—a desire to escape that he felt in Baranja before he began to appreciate the region’s strange atmosphere.
“Every passing takes us back to a beginning and teaches us to discover something new about ourselves. We’re the consequences of everyone that was before us. Good and bad are family heirlooms.” This is how Tomislav began describing his project Baranja Dreaming, who understood the most important location of his childhood, Baranja, only as a grown-up. The photographer’s homeland is a melancholic, dreamlike village tucked away in Eastern Croatia, where even time passes more slowly and where the power of community is greater than anything else.
“I examine the relationship between people and space and their interaction through my photographs. My goal is to show the beauty of everyday life and banality in the things you see every day, in my unique aesthetic way. I photograph people minding their business, absent and sometimes lost in space. I always want to convey the moment’s atmosphere and process, not just capture it. For this reason, I always introduce the observer to the space in which I find myself. The environment where I grew up left a dose of nostalgia and strange sensibility in me, which I convey in my works. Showing something internal to the outside world brings my melancholy signature that you will find in all my captured spaces and people,” Tomislav shared on his art.
The photographer has also worked on shorter projects, but says he finds the longer ones much more enjoyable, both the process itself and the journey of growing up. However, he stressed that this does not mean that a project lasting a few months is not better than a project that takes ten years.
“This project was my decision after a family member passed away three years ago. I wanted to say thanks and maybe tell through photos what I didn’t when she was alive,” pointed out Tomislav, who believes whenever we lose someone, we have to give something away. “I decided to combine all the photos I’ve taken during the last ten years into a story and complete a circle,” he added. The selection process, however, was complemented with a few pictures, which further strengthen the story of Baranja Dreaming and help us better understand the life and coming of age of the photographer. The authenticity and personal nature of the series are emphasized by scanned family heirlooms, recipes and old photos.
When asked about the impact of professional decisions and personal bonds during the long working process, the photographer said the following: “Most photos that make up the project were taken at the beginning of my photography life. I am happy and not ashamed of my work at the beginning and that I easily included them in this series. Many photos are part of my memories, but they satisfy me technically and aesthetically if I look at them from a professional point of view. Many photos were not included in the series because I wanted it to be easier to remember, not to have too much. An essential part of this project was the selection of photos, but I had no problem with that, and it was easy for me to do it.”
And how long will Baranja Dreaming go on? “I can say that I will continue to photograph my surroundings and the environment in which I grew up, since my parents live there. I often go to Baranja, but I have closed one circle. The project should have ended earlier, but we all know what happened in the last two years. The project will not continue because I have other plans. After I finish one project, I have to take a break so that the new project is as good or even better than the previous one,” Tomislav summed up.
Photos: Tomislav Marcijuš