Freelance photography journalist Dejan Mijović, born on 18 September 1976 and based in Sevnica, is assistant photo editor of the biggest daily newspaper in Slovenia Delo.si web portal.
He graduated in photography from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering with the graduation thesis entitled The Psychological and Visual Effects of Diverse Layouts of Exhibited Photographs.
Mijović has been involved in photography for the past 20 years, ever since undertaking studies of graphic technology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering. As a photographer, Mijović worked in various contexts, serving, among others, as the official photographer on the Navigator of the Seas passenger ship, contributing to various media, including Jana, Ona, Mladina, STA and Žurnal, and receiving diverse photography commissions.
In 2010, Mijović sustained an injury and was left completely paralysed from the neck down. Through amazing luck, strong willpower and lengthy rehabilitation, and driven by his as yet unfulfilled desire to pursue photography, the tetraplegic was back in the saddle, and has since held several one-man shows and participated in a number of group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad. Recently, he has been polishing his photography skills with Klavdij Sluban, a French photographer of Slovenian descent based in Paris.
Mijović’s great flair for composition and light contrasts renders his portraits of random individuals far more than simply frozen moments in time but, rather, perceptive accounts of their life stories.
His black-and-white photographs, a preoccupation of recent years, aim to capture diverse moods of his closest and long-standing friends also in their most intimate moments. [Official Website]
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am in photography for 23 years. I was a photojournalist for most of my career. Since my accident which happened 10 years ago when I ended up tetraplegic I now work in the photo desk of the biggest daily newspaper in Slovenia. In my free time I am mostly taking photos of my friends and my family because of my physical limitations. Every time I take photos it is really big challenge for me. It basically starts with holding the camera in my hands. Next step is finding the trigger, because my skin sensors are dead so I can’t fill the trigger. So it takes a lot more time for me to catch with my camera the good moment in time.
How did you get interested in photography?
My mother was working in biggest Slovenian underwear company Lisca and was in charge of marketing and also for all commercial adds. So I was lucky to be in quite a lot of photo shoot settings with her. There I met best fashion photographers in Slovenia and was able to learn a lot from them. Finally I fell in love with photography while studying graphics on faculty.
What inspired you to take your “The autumn will get us all” project?
As I am mostly taking photos of my family and my relatives and a lot of them are quite old but still enjoying their lives I got the idea to show their different lifestyle to the public.
What first drew you to this project?
A lot of quality photos I already made of my relatives. That means I did the opposite of how usually projects are made. After years of photographing my relatives and family and a lot of good photos of elders I decided that I have to do something with them. So I started with editing.
What has been the hardest part of this project?
For me it was editing – how to tell the story with the photos I already had. So the faces are not repeating and the order of the photos so that I get visually strongest photostory possible.
We are talking about the postproduction process. How do you get the final result?
I try to make as little postproduction as possible. Just basics like crop and contrast. The biggest postproduction for me is turning my photos from color to B&W. I do that with great program called NIK Software, specialized in B&W for me best there is.
How would you define your general style photography?
My style is very personal and intimate documentary photography I guess, because I try to catch the moment and not to stage anything if it is possible.
Could you please tell us anything about your technique and creating process?
Because of my physical disability I learned to take photos from my stomach, that is how i see the trigger on the camera, otherwise I can’t see the trigger and I miss a lot of great moments. I am Nikon guy from the start, and I mostly use prime lenses like 50mm 1.4, 35 mm 1.4 and 85 mm 1.4.
In your opinion, what makes a good black & white photography?
I think with B&W I can focus more on telling the story. B&W can bring out emotions more strongly than color. This is because it removes distractions from the subject.
B&W was once the only means we had to communicate, photographically. But for some of us, B&W is how we started off in photography, and how we saw our images in print. But since the beginning of photography, B&W has been a very romantic medium. My romance with B&W continues to this day.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photography?
Honestly not that much I just take the camera everywhere I go and taking photos when I feel inspired
What do you think makes a memorable project?
To make your photos memorable, you need vision, a good story and context.
How do you know you got the shot you wanted?
Personally most of the time I just feel it right after I make the shot.
Your idea of the perfect composition?
I never focus on composition itself by default, I guess it is what attracts my eye the most when taking photo is in my modest opinion the best composition.
What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
Follow me on Instagram and U will see hahaha. Wish U all good light and great photos.