Photography became his creative escape in the 90's when his country was facing a civil war. Years later, he moved to New York where he continued doing what he loves the most. Boogie had various exhibitions over the years and his sixth monograph "A Wah Do Dem" was one of the most controversial ones. In this interview, Boogie talks about his trip to the largest city of Jamaica and reveals what he enjoys doing besides photography.
Hey Boogie! What interesting projects are you currently working on?
The 10th anniversary updated edition of my book ITS ALL GOOD comes out on December 6th, I am really excited about that because I've added a ton of new photos, and changed up the edit a bit, so it looks really great. I also just came back from Moscow, it was my third trip there, it was amazing, and who knows what will come out of that.
I understand you were born and raised in Belgrade, but moved to New York in 1998. What influenced your decision back then to move somewhere else and pursue a photography career abroad?
I never planned to move anywhere, but I won the green card lottery, so I just had to at least try. Of course it was a huge cultural shock, whatever I thought I knew about New York turned out to be wrong. I love photography, so whether I am in Belgrade or anywhere else that's what I would be doing.
You have had the opportunity to work with both digital and analogue cameras. In your opinion, what do you find special about each of them?
Digital is perfect for commercial work, and lately it's pretty much the only acceptable way…Clients can see the result in real time, sign off and move on to the next shot. It's very practical, and you don't have to wait a couple of days for film processing and scans, which can be nervewrecking. On the other hand, there is a lot of magic in shooting film. The number of shots is limited, so you have to anticipate and plan more, and each shot is more special. No instant gratification, you have to be patient, and I really like that. It's a different mentality.
You live in Brooklyn now and as you like to say it, all over the world. How do you manage to feel at home wherever you are? What do you miss the most about your hometown?
I think if you leave your hometown, your country once, there is no problem with doing it again. The thing is, you never feel fully at home, but on the other hand you can live anywhere and be just fine. I was born in Belgrade, I took my first breath of air there, and it will always be my home. I always miss my family and my childhood friends.
You started doing photography by photographing rebellion back in the 90’s during the civil war. Was the current situation in the country the trigger for you to start doing photography or was this one of many things you wanted to capture on your photographic journey?
I think it was a trigger…My country was sinking deeper and deeper into chaos, gang shootouts were a daily occurance, morale was going to shit, it was a heavy time. So I think photography was my escape, when I am behind the camera, I feel more like an observer, I don't have to participate. Its a good way to save your sanity.
You are working on Nike campaigns, publishing your own books and doing exhibitions all over the world. What’s your regular day like, when you are not doing all these exciting and creative things? What do you enjoy doing besides photography?
I enjoy my family, I have two kids and I drive them to school every morning at 7:30. I hate waking up early, nooooooooooo. I enjoy eating good food, I train boxing whenever I can. Life is good.
Your sixth monograph “A Wah Do Dem” represent a series of photographs taken in Kingston, the largest city of Jamaica. You also pointed out that was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences you ever had. What inspired you to visit this place and document these unusual sights?
My wife's friend married a guy from Kingston, so my first trip there was just to visit them. I had no idea what to expect, I didn't even google it. When we got there, on the way from the airport, the first thing we saw was a bunch of cops with m16s and bulletproof vests pulling some guy out of a car. There was a lot of chaos and yelling, and I knew I was in for a wild ride.
Most of your street photographs are black and white. Why did you choose to use an aesthetic of black and white for this particular work?
That's always changing. I switch between bw and color, depending on my mood I think. Lately I shoot more bw during the day, and color at night for example. I just do as I feel.
What is next for you when it comes to work?
I am leaving for Naples next week, I have a show and doing a workshop there. After that I'm off to Thailand with my family. Again, life is good!