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  • Writer's pictureАнђела Петровски

Creation of Balkanium / Stvaranje Balkaniuma



I have always thought of the Balkans as the place with a specific charm and warmth which is often forgotten due to its many problems. What led me to completely focus on the subject of the Balkans was an experience that affected me greatly. The main turning point when everything clicked and I realized what I wanted to say through photography was my first visit to Novi Pazar. I was always of the opinion that different people exist everywhere and that in everyday life and coexistence there is no room for pointing out those differences. My greatest inspiration came from the fact that I was made aware of it completely. From the warmth that in my opinion smaller towns usually have, via the coexistence and meeting of cultures in this town, and finally by making friends, I realized that I wanted to share this through photography and try to bring it closer to other people.

In the coffee and tea house Teferich I did my first story which paints everything I want to show, because just as Novi Pazar is a crossroads of cultures, so is a coffee and tea house the place that is unavoidable in everyday life of the people of this town.

Everybody here is friends, colleagues or neighbours. People laugh, they are dynamic, they walk from table to table greeting people they know and people they don’t know. They order a new round and start with a new story.”

I wondered, how is it possible that the broader picture of life in the Balkans is not affected by its very parts.

Islam and Christianity – both promote kindness and honesty, the faithful respect people of any other faith because the core and essence of faith is noble. How is it possible that things get warped so much on the broader level that they go to extremes, and hate ends up at the forefront? Two main reasons for this are the separation of people, and media propaganda which most often gives us only the negative side of things. This is why I decided to create a magazine in the form of a blog, which I named Balkanium, to serve as the place for people to find and build a more positive image of the Balkans.


Although the sea of information we live in affects us primarily in a negative way with what it does to our minds and the amount of time we spend with it, I believe that this time is also more open to discussion, because people are already aware of lies and truths thanks to social networks and the internet, and this provides a space to contradict all the fake news that are served to us.

Powerful platforms, such as Facebook, Blogger, Instagram, Flicker, YouTube, are created to accept different content and generate it so that it is available worldwide. They make public the details of the everyday life of millions of people that create and input media content or text. Something that was invisible or transient, something that was difficult to trace, was given substance in this way. The platforms of social media provide its users with unlimited space to store and keep, organize and promote their thoughts, attitudes and media material.

This provided a completely new space in photography and the possibility for an individual to promote their profession. Just as once their work was presented through carefully chosen series of photos and the corresponding design in the form of a book, so it is today translated to the precisely designed website, blog or the portfolio platform that serves to promote their work. The potential and open nature of these platforms has pushed graphic design outside of its previous limits in order for an individual’s work to shine among the multitude of others.

In addition to numerous blogs and Instagram profiles, different concepts rose above others in photography which distinguished themselves with their precision and approach to photography and became an inspiration to people worldwide.

One of the most beautiful and successful examples for me was one Facebook page.

“Humans of New York’’.

This page was founded by the photographer Brandon Stanton.

In a way, it is directly connected to what I want to create with my blog, but it is organized in such a precise and enticing way that it sent ripples all over the world and served as a model for others. For example, this page was the main inspiration for similar pages, such as the page „People of Belgrade“ curated by the young photographer Ognjen Stambolovic in Belgrade, as well as „People of Sarajevo“ curated by Imrana Kapetanovic.

The city of New York is a mix of cultures. This page contains thousands of portraits of inhabitants of this city. Hindus, Arabs, Europeans, Americans, children, old people, artists, labourers, etc. They all have a portrait and a short story on the page. Each photograph has numerous likes, shares, and has simply reached the whole world. There is a prejudice that Americans are stupid and racists, but one glance at this page and the comments of people shows something completely different.

After only 10 days, the project „People of Sarajevo“ has reached huge popularity after I posted a story of my grandma, who became popular in the region as „Skojevka Minka“. Her story was posted on all portals in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. Within the first month of its existence the page was followed by several thousands of people.“

Imrana Kapetanovic


Balkanium is a blog with a goal to introduce and bring closer people from different countries of the Balkans.

It was conceived as a magazine for photojournalists from all countries of the Balkans to share the stories and examples from their countries, thus introducing people to, or reminding people of their country, surprising us or teaching us something new, or realizing our similarities. The stories will contain certain messages, subtly proving that differences are not important, that there are good people everywhere, and that every change in difficult circumstances starts from the individual. Under difficult circumstances I here refer to the social circumstances of most people from the Balkans, all having more or less similar issues: unemployment, bitterness, poor conditions, but who are also prejudiced, closed off and disconnected. Of course, the opposite of all this will hardly ever come to pass completely, but from my personal experience that was very important to me, and many other things I have already mentioned, I realized that it is possible to always try to take steps that would in time, however long it took, lead to these changes.

Research and realization

After Novi Pazar, I started doing research and finding stories and motifs for photo journals. It was important to me that every story contained a subtle lesson or proved in some way that differences in everyday life did not matter. In Belgrade I did a story on a soup kitchen where several retired people do volunteer work that feeds hundreds of homeless and also on the Pelivan pastry shop which is interesting because it is the oldest one in the city and also one of the rare remaining pastry shops owned by the Gorani people. I traveled across Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. I did not find concrete stories everywhere, but I never stopped taking photos, meeting people and spending time with them. I visited and spent time in such interesting towns as Presevo, Bosilegrad, Tetovo, Balchik and others where cultures meet and leave interesting traces in the form of dialects and customs…

Rakija – Bulgaria – Andjela Petrovski

Preševo – Serbia – Andjela Petrovski

Culture – Tetovo – Andjela Petrovski

In the beginning I focused on trying to find specific stories as I wrote before, but it was sometimes stressful as well, because I did not find appropriate subjects everywhere. Therefore, in time I relaxed and enjoyed in the whole process, photographing anything that was close to my heart and interesting, and coincidentally that was when I met the most interesting people. In Tetovo I met the photographer Dragi Nedelcevski, who took me out of town to see an Albanian village where a man called Simeon lived, who turned his home into the smallest ethnographical museum in the world.

Dragi Nedelčevski kod Simeona u najmanjem etno muzeju na svetu – Anđela Petrovski

Nations disagree, people agree on things.

Dragi Nedelcevski

In the meantime, I discovered a Facebook page ”The Balkans”, that was much different in content from my blog, but which shared the same idea. I got in touch with them wanting to share some of my photos on this page, and so I met the administrator of this page. The founder of the popular Facebook page “The Balkans” and as of recently my friend, talked to me about the work he was doing, and I asked him to share his experience of working on this page.

For the uninitiated: *This page contains photos, videos, stories and humorous content from the whole Balkans that is posted in a carefully selected order by countries. It serves as a page for entertainment and education, but at the same time it strives for something much bigger, and that is for the people from the Balkans to “make peace” and learn about each other, starting from the things that we all like and have in common. For example, preserving food for winter, coffee drinking rituals, etc. It gained in popularity very quickly and is still growing on a daily basis.

This page changed my life as well. It broadened my horizons and shattered the prejudices I had that formed under the influence of my surroundings, as it happens with everybody. I learned very much about the culture of the Balkans, its places, people, food, languages, etc. I realized we had a lot in common, but also discovered many differences I did not know of at all before. People from the Balkans are not aware of these things. I know it because I was not aware of them either.”

Founder of the page “The Balkans”


I spent a lot of time observing the news that comes to us via different media.

-We rarely hear information about our neighbouring countries (except the politics)

– Anything interesting or educational usually comes from the West

– consequences of war, the Hague, crimes, squabbles and threats are common in the news

These are important reasons that serve to create prejudice in people towards other people, and consequently in nations towards other nations.

My travels throughout the Balkans led me to do a research of sorts. I wanted to know if it was really necessary to get only this type of news and whether I was mistaken in believing that things were not as dark as they were presented.

– People here are very similar

– The Balkans is a great crossroads of cultures, which resulted in interesting and rich consequences. From beautiful music, via customs, tradition and languages, the charisma these nations are known for is, in my opinion, the most important thing, as well as the beauty that people find in the simple things in life

– the existing religions create aversion on the surface, but when you delve a bit deeper and experience the coexistence of these people, a new and different image is formed.


The most important thing I noticed while curating the page is how photos reflect on people and their reactions to them. Most of the people do not know places in neighbouring countries, neither they have heard of them, but they usually have a negative opinion of them to start with. When they look at the photos of them, they are very often completely surprised and are sending me sincere messages of how they would like to visit them now. Yes, all this experience leads me to believe that there is hope for positive changes among the people of the Balkans, but that each of us has to do their part for this to happen. With anything we have in our hands.”

Founder of the page “The Balkans”

This blog is here to remind the people of our similarities, of how interesting

the differences among us are, and with that to remind us of the beauty

and the positive side of life when we pay attention to the simple

and small things that can make a person happy.

Andjela Petrovski

Founder and photographer



O samom Balkanu sam oduvek razmišljala kao o mestu sa specifičnom harizmom i toplinom na koju se, zbog mnogih problema, često zaboravlja. Na potpuno posvećivanje temi Balkana dovelo me je jedno veliko iskustvo. Glavni preokret koji je mi je iskristalizovao šta želim da radim i kažem kroz fotografiju je bio moj prvi odlazak u Novi Pazar. Oduvek sam imala mišljenje da različitih ljudi ima svuda i da u svakodnevnom životu i suživotu nema mesta za isticanje tih razlika. Moju najveću inspiraciju je probudila činjenica da sam se potpuno u to uverila. Od same topline koju po meni imaju gradovi koji su manji, preko suživota i susreta kultura u ovom gradu i na kraju sticanja prijatelja, shvatila sam da kroz fotografiju želim da to podelim i pokušam da predstavim drugima.

U kafečajnici Teferič sam uradila svoju prvu reportažu koja oslikava sve što želim da prikažem, jer kao što je Novi Pazar raskrsnica kultura, tako je i jedna kafečajnica nezaobilazno mesto u svakodnevici ljudi ovog grada.

‘’Ovde su svi prijatelji, kolege ili komšije. Ljudi se smeju, dinamični su, često šetaju od stola do stola pozdravljajući se sa poznatim i sa nepoznatim ljudima.Naruče novu turu i kreću u novu priču.’’

Pitala sam se, kako je moguće da na širu sliku života na Balkanu ne mogu da utiču ni njeni sami delovi?

Islam i hrišćanstvo – oba govore o dobroti i poštenju, vernici poštuju druge vernike koje god veroispovesti bili zato što je sama srž i suština plemenita. Kako je moguće da se do šire slike stvari toliko izvitopere da dođu do potpune krajnosti, tj. isticanja mržnje? Dva glavna razloga za to su odvojenost ljudi i medijska propaganda preko koje do nas dolaze, najčešće, samo negativne informacije. Zato sam odlučila da napravim magazin u vidu bloga, koji sam nazvala Balkanium, na kome će se nalaziti i graditi pozitivnija slika Balkana.


Iako je pre svega negativno more informacija u kom živimo i šta ono čini našim umovima i našem provođenju vremena, mislim da je ovo vreme takođe i mnogo zahvalnije za rasprave, jer su ljudi već nekako spremni i na laži i na istine i zahvaljujući socijalnim mrežama i internetu, otvoren je prostor i za demantovanje svih lažnih vesti koje nam dolaze.

Moćne platforme, kao što su Fejsbuk, Blogger, Instagram, Fliker, Jutjub, osmišljene su da prihvate razne sadržaje i generišu ih tako da budu dostupne širom sveta. One čine javnim detalje svakodnevnog života miliona ljudi koji prave i unose medijski sadržaj ili tekstove. Ono što je nekada bilo nevidljivo i prolazno, čemu se nije moglo ući u trag, na taj način je postalo postojano. Platforme društvenih medija daju korisnicima neograničen prostor za skladištenje i čuvanje, organizovanje i promovisanje svojih misli, stavova i medijskog materijala.

To je otvorilo sasvim novi prostor u fotografiji i mogućnosti plasiranja pojedinca u svojoj profesiji. Kao što se nekada rad prezentovao kroz pažljivo odabrane serije fotografija i odgovarajućeg dizajna u vidu knjige, tako se danas to prebacuje na precizan dizajn sajta, bloga ili portfolio platforme kako bi se promovisao sopstveni rad.

Sama mogućnost i otvorenost ovih platformi pogurala je i grafički dizajn izvan svojih okvira ne bi li se određeni rad pojedinca istakao u moru ostalih. Pored brojnih blogova i Instagram profila, u fotografiji su se istakli razni koncepti, koji su se svojom preciznošću u fotografskom pristupu istakli i postali inspiracija širom sveta.

Jedan od najlepših i najuspešnijih primera za mene je bila jedna stranica na Fejsbuku.

“Humans of New York’’

Ovu stranicu je osnovao fotograf Brendon Stanton.

Na neki način je direktno povezana sa onim što ja želim blogom da radim, ali je jako precizno i primamljivo organizovana i zato je kao sam model ta stranica odjeknula celim svetom. Na primer bila je glavna inspiracija sličnim stranicama kao što je bila i stranica ‘’Beograđani’’ koju je vodio mladi fotograf Ognjen Stambolović u Beogradu, kao i ‘‘People of Sarajevo’’ koju vodi Imrana Kapetanović.

Sam Njujork je splet kultura kao grad. Na stranici se nalazi hiljade portreta stanovnika ovog grada. Od Indijaca, Arapa, Evropljana, Amerikanaca, dece, staraca, umetnika, radnika itd. Imali su svoj portret i svoju kratku priču na stranici. Svaka fotografija je imala mnogo komentara, deljenja i jednostavno je bila rasprostranjena po celom svetu.

Iako recimo postoji predrasuda za Amerikance da su glupi, rasisti itd. jedan pogled na ovu stranicu i komentare ljudi je dokazivao upravo suprotno.

‘’Nakon samo 10 dana, projekat ’’People of Sarajevo’’ je doživio ogromnu popularnost nakon što sam objavila priču moje babe, koja je u regionu postala poznata kao Skojevka Minka. Objavljena je na svim portalima u BiH i regionu. I već u prvom mjesecu stranicu je pratilo nekoliko hiljada ljudi.’’

Imrana Kapetanović


Balkanium je blog čiji je cilj da upozna i zbliži ljude iz različitih zemalja Balkana. Zamišljen je kao magazin na kom će foto reporteri iz svake zemlje Balkana deliti priče i primere iz svoje zemlje i tako ostatak upoznati, iznenaditi ili podsetiti na dotičnu zemlju, naučiti nešto novo ili shvatiti koliko smo slični. Priče će sadržati određene poruke, suptilno će dokazivati da razlike nisu bitne i da dobrih ljudi ima svuda, kao i da svaka promena u teškim okolnostima polazi od sebe samog. Pod teškim okolnostima ovde podrazumevam socijalne okolnosti većine naroda Balkana, koji manje više svi imaju slične probleme: nezaposlenost, ogorčenost, loše uslove, ali takođe pored toga imaju predrasude, zatvoreni su i nepovezani. Naravno, teško da će ikada da se desi suprotnost nabrojanog, ali iz sebi bitnog ličnog iskustva i mnogih stvari koje sam već pominjala, shvatila sam da je moguće uvek praviti korake koji će, možda dugim periodom, voditi ka tim promenama.

Istraživanje i realizacija

Posle Novog Pazara sam počela da istražujem i nalazim priče i motive za fotoreportaže. Bilo mi je bitno da svaka priča ili ima neku suptilnu pouku ili da na neki način dokazuje da razlike u svakodnevnom životu nisu bitne. U Beogradu sam radila reportažu o Narodnoj kuhinji gde nekoliko volontera penzionera svojim radom hrani stotine beskućnika i takođe o poslastičarnici Pelivan koja je zanimljiva i zato što je najstarija u gradu a i zato što je jedna od retkih preostalih poslastičarnica koju drže Goranci.

Putovala sam po Bugarskoj, Srbiji, Crnoj Gori, BiH i Makedoniji. Nisam svuda nalazila konkretne priče, ali sam konstantno fotografisala, upoznavala ljude i provodila vreme sa njima. Posetila sam i boravila u zanimljivim gradovima kao što su Preševo, Bosilegrad, Tetovo, Balčik i dr. u kojima se susreću kulture i ostavljaju zanimljive tragove u vidu dijalekata i običaja..

Rakija – Bulgaria – Andjela Petrovski

Preševo – Serbia – Andjela Petrovski

Culture – Tetovo – Andjela Petrovski

U početku sam se fokusirala da nađem konkretne reportaže kao što sam i napisala, ali to je nekad predstavljalo i stres jer nisam svuda nalazila odgovarajuće teme.

Tako da sam se vremenom opustila i više uživala u celom procesu, fotografišući sve što mi je blisko i interesantno, a često sam baš tada upoznavala i najzanimljivije ljude. U Tetovu sam se upoznala sa fotografom Dragim Nedelčevskim, koji me je doveo do jednog albanskog sela van grada u kom živi Simeon, čovek koji je od svoje kuće napravio najmanji etno muzej na svetu.

Dragi Nedelčevski kod Simeona u najmanjem etno muzeju na svetu – Anđela Petrovski

Narodi se ne slažu, ljudi se slažu.

Dragi Nedelčevski

U međuvremenu našla sam Fejsbuk stranicu o Balkanu, koja se sadržajem bitno razlikuje od bloga ali je suština i namera potpuno ista. Javljala sam im se želeći da podelim neke svoje fotografije na stranici i sticajem okolnosti, upoznala sam se sa adminom. Osnivač popularne Fejsbuk stranice ‘’The Balkans’’ i od skoro i moj prijatelj, i ja smo pričali o ovom radu i pitala sam ga da ispriča svoje iskustvo od osnivanja stranice.

Za neupućene: *Na ovoj stranici se pažljivim redosledom po zemljama kače fotografije, snimci, reportaže i šaljiv sadržaj sa celog Balkana. funkcioniše kao stranica zabave i edukacije ali je tu da se bori za nešto mnogo više, a to je ‘’mirenje’’ i upoznavanje ljudi sa Balkana, polazeći od činjenica koje svi rado delimo. Npr. zimnica, rituali kafe, itd. U kratkom periodu je popularnost jako porasla i veća je iz dana u dan.

‘‘Ova stranica je i meni promenila život. Otvorila mi je vidike i razbila predrasude koje sam i sam imao, kao i svi , pod uticajem svoje okoline. Jako puno toga sam naučio o kulturi Balkana, mestima, ljudima, hrani, jezicima itd. Shvatio sam da imamo mnogo zajedničkih stvari, ali takođe i mnogo razlika na koje ne bih nikad ni pomislio. Ljudi sa Balkana nisu uopšte svesni toga. Znam to zato što ni sam nisam bio.

Osnivač stranice ‘’The Balkans’’


Dosta sam posmatrala i vesti koje do nas dolaze kroz razne medije.

– retko kada čujemo neke informacije o susednim zemljama (osim politike)

– sve zanimljivo i edukativno dolazi sa zapada uglavnom

– ratne posledice, Hag, zločini, prepucavanja i pretnje su svakodnevica.

To su bitni razlozi zašto se ljudima stvaraju predrasude prema drugim ljudima, a tim tokom i narodima prema drugim narodima.

Kroz putovanja po Balkanu upustila sam se i u neki vid istraživanja. Zanimalo me to da li je stvarno potrebno da dobijamo samo takve vesti i da li se varam ako mislim da stvari nisu toliko crne.

– ljudi su ovde jako slični

– Balkan je veliko raskršće kultura, čije su posledice jako zanimljive i bogate. Od divne muzike, preko običaja, tradicije i jezika, harizma po kojoj su ovi narodi poznati po meni je najzanimljivija kao i lepota koju ljudi vide u jednostavnosti života

– postojeće religije na površini stvaraju averziju, ali kad se upliva malo i iskusi kakav je suživot svih tih ljudi stvara se nova i drugačija slika o tome


‘’Najbitnije što sam primetio tokom održavanja stranice je kako se fotografije reflektuju na ljude i kako oni reaguju. Većina ljudi ne poznaje nikakva mesta u susednim zemljama, niti su čuli za njih ali uglavnom imaju izgrađeno negativno mišljenje u startu. Kada pogledaju fotografije česte su reakcije potpunog iznenađenja i iskreno to napišu ili kažu da sada žele da putuju tamo. Da, iz svog ovog iskustva mislim da postoji nada za pozitivne promene među ljudima na Balkanu, ali svi moramo da odradimo svoj deo, svako od nas. Kroz bilo šta što imamo u rukama.’’

Osnivač stranice ‘’The Balkans’’

Ovaj blog će biti tu da podseti ljude koliko smo slični jedni drugima, koliko su zanimljive i te razlike koje postoje, a samim tim i podsetiti na lepotu i pozitivnu stranu života kada se obrati pažnja na jednostavne i male stvari koje mogu čoveka da čine srećnim.

Anđela Petrovski

Urednik, fotograf i osnivač magazine Balkanium

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