Project: photomonography Croatia from above

Printera was an important part of the largest photographical project in Croatia “Croatia from above” within which we printed 6 000 copies of the namesake photo-monograph in Croatian and English. The book is composed of 200 photographs of 48x32cm format and it costs merely 200 HRK. Also, the namesake exhibition toured around Croatia last year. Judging by the very positive feedback “from the field” and enormous enthusiasm, drive and will we noticed at the manager and author of this project, we could soon be facing a new expanded edition. 

Are the Mayan pyramids connected to the Lake of Peruča? At first you would certainly say no, but let us dissuade at once. The first motif Davor shot from above were precisely the pyramids which simply astounded him or in his own words “that was when I truly fell in love with the photography from above”. He wanted to apply that special type of photography in Croatia as well.

“When I did a report about Sinj, I got a chance to shoot Sinj from above, and since I had 30 minutes left, I flew across Cetina to the spring. I noticed this motif of one angle of the Lake of Peruča and I framed it so that even I could not make out if it was an African desert or a micro detail of a leaf from that shot…” He sent the photo to his collaborators in National Geographic who really liked it, hence they immediately arranged for an entire photo story of the Dalmatian hinterland from above.  “This was the first time I had a chance to entirely implement and further develop that “new” style of photography from above. It yielded excellent results and feedback so I simply continued along that path”, as our interlocutor recounted his beginnings with overt satisfaction.

“It somehow sparked the idea to encompass the entire Croatia, region by region, and round it all off with a photo-monograph and an exhibition. After seven years of shooting in all seasons and weather conditions, after several means of transport and discovery of drones, I took more than 10 000 photographs. Naturally, I had to narrow it down for the photo-monograph and the exhibition. A long, yet creative and beautiful process of selecting the best photos ensued.  The very concept of putting together a monograph was a lot more complicated and difficult than selecting the photos, since the main objective was to show the diversity of Croatia.” The author himself explained that “the photos were not grouped according to regions, colours or some other similar criteria, but they were classified to be as dispersed as possible throughout the book and exhibition. It is how greater dynamics and diversity of regions, colours and motifs was achieved.”

We particularly wanted to know how the cover photo was selected, because we know how important it is for the sale of a certain book and we know that it has to be “eye-catching” in order to be conspicuous among hundreds of others. It is interesting, however, that the author, after he selected the motif, repeated shooting three times and each time he only lacked a smidge for it to be perfect. “We wanted the cover to be a tad more abstract, with strong colours and message. If we had put a certain site, for instance Motovun, Trakošćan or the small island of Visovac (which all made the final cut), it would not be in line with the concept of the book which encompasses the entire Croatia and emphasises its abundant diversity. That is why we chose this abstract motif from Cres which symbolises three main regions of Croatia – dark blue littoral, wooded hillside Croatia and lowland northern region”, Davor explained.

We should also point out that the American editors of National Geographic liked this photo-monograph so much that they allowed it to be published under their brand which is really rare for external productions and a great recognition for this project.

When we asked him why he decided to make and print the photo-monograph, Rostuhar replied: “It was not some big decision. It is completely understandable that when you make such a huge seven-year photo project, it will all be rounded off with a photo-monograph. Another crowning moment is the exhibition, which is also very important to us since we worked really hard and invested a lot of time in it.  They are not mutually exclusive, but they actually complement each other very well.  The exhibition is temporary, it comes and goes. The photo-monograph is eternal. And when it comes to such a huge and significant project, the photo-monograph becomes some kid of a document of time.”

And when it comes to the author`s career, what does photo-monograph represent in that case?

“A lot. Everything”, replied Davor Rostuhar clearly and briefly.

 

 

/ PHOTO-MONOGRAPH FROM PRINTERA`S PERSPECTIVE

The story regarding the making of the photo-monograph “Croatia from above” started in November 2013. The first meeting with Davor was held on our premises so he could meet our entire team, production plant and go through all required printed materials for the exhibition. The idea of the entire project was really grand, and besides the photo-monograph, it included catalogues, postcards, calendars, posters, invitations, tickets and print of photographs and tarpaulins in digital print.

Specifically, since the initial meeting until the order confirmation in the period between November 2013 and May 2014, overall 65 offers were made and 5 meeting held.

In this complex and multi-layered process of development, several essential criteria needed to be met in terms of quality:

Print / Since it was as photo-monograph, we needed to extract the maximum from Davor`s photographs, which implied starting photo processing and match print proofing a month before even opening the manufacturing order. Thus we eliminated all prospective printing problems in advance, which resulted in shorter period for print authentication and keeping colour coat according to the standard values.

Folding sheets / Throughout the entire book there are photographs on the spread, i.e. in the form of centrefolds, which is why special attention was given to folding in order to make all sheets well and properly folded, and the joint of printing sheets when turning pages is almost invisible.

Hard binding / Except for the fact that the binding was supposed to be top-quality, one of the requirements we had was to make the book as openable as possible. In layman`s terms, the binding was supposes to “devour” as little of photography as possible.