A Peculiar Look at Sarajevo Through The Eyes of Jim Marshall


Jim Marshall, photographer

By: Medina Malagić

Photographer Jim Marshall presented his exhibition of photographs in Galerija Boris Smoje in Sarajevo on Saturday, 6 April entitled “There is a light that never goes out” as part of “Dana grada Sarajeva”.

‘Sarajevo Times’ had the opportunity to speak with Jim Marshall shortly before his exhibition took place. Jim is a photographer from Scotland who first arrived to Mostar in 1994.While he initially planned to stay for three weeks, he ended up spending half a year in Mostar after meeting up with several German and Dutch people who ran a youth center on the west side, so Jim decided to volunteer to work in the eastern part of the city for a youth organization called “Mladi Most” that tried to connect the divided eastern and western parts of the city. In 1995 he moved to Sarajevo and has been a citizen of this city ever since.

Since Jim moved to Sarajevo right before the siege ended and has been living here ever since, he witnessed the physical transformation from a war-torn and bullet-ridden city to the modern cosmopolitan city of today where very few visible vestiges of the war remain. He describes his photography as a way to make sense of contradictory feelings about Sarajevo and is a result of his own personal experiences of being here during and after the war.

Jim describes Sarajevo as a multifaceted city, a city that he is still unable to fully understand. Seventeen years after living here, he continues to be fascinated by Sarajevo. His intense curiosity extends to every window, every corner and every newly discovered mahala in Sarajevo, and said that while he has always harbored a curious mind, his ongoing interest could also be attributed to a leftover from the war, where people had no choice but to be persistently and acutely aware of their surroundings.

Thus, Jim first got to know and become familiar with Sarajevo as a city under siege. His attachment to this city developed out of paying attention to hidden details, things that today would most likely escape the notice of most people or be viewed as an inconsequential detail. While Jim explained to us that he does not take pictures with a premeditated idea in his mind and that it is more of a subconscious endeavor that manifests through his photographs, in the process certain themes do develop, such as survival, diversity and hope. He describes the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina as passive pessimism, and that since ethnic divisions are not benefiting anyone, more needs to be done if Sarajevo wants to truly represent the country as the capital city.

The photographs currently on display at Galerija Boris Smoje as part of his photo exhibition are exclusively images of Sarajevo, and offer a very peculiar and atypical look into this city.

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