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Dirk-Jan Visser February 25, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kosovo.

Kosovo Independence Demonstration, Belgrade, Serbia 2008

Dirk-Jan Visser (b. 1978, The Netherlands) is an independent documentary photographer based in Rotterdam. In 2005 he photographed the people of Kosovo on the brink of transformation, which resulted in the book Brave New Kosovo. For his photo book Zimbabwe Exodus he won a number of awards, including Dutch Photojournalist of the Year 2007 and a special recognition in the POYi World Understanding Award. The Human Rights Watch lobby used the book to help bring about a change of asylum policy in South Africa towards Zimbabweans. Besides his photographic adventures he is curator at Atelier aan de Middendijk, an artistic initiative in the Northern part of the Netherlands. Dirk is represented by Hollandse Hoogte.

About the Photograph:

“For me personally, this picture epitomizes a very intense period of one and a half month around Kosovo Independence, running in the field shooting this ‘new born’ state from a grass root perspective, from exploited women in illegal brothels to the top end of the victorious politicians who made this independence possible. The image is taken during a protest in Belgrade that was organized by some of the main Serbian political parties on February 21st 2008, four days after Kosovo declared independence. The peaceful demonstration in front of the parliament building later turned to chaos, as hooligans looted embassies of western countries, McDonald’s restaurants and local shops. This image is the last picture I shot in this period before ending up in hospital after I was attacked and seriously hurt outside the U.S. embassy by youths who were breaking into the building.”

“Moreover, this image symbolizes the independence of Kosovo from a Serbian perspective of people fearing the future, feeling victim of an international chess game of geopolitics, power and interests. While Kosovo is burning in the background, the future and the destiny of the country is uncertain. The common people are suffering, forcing them into the ideas of radical politics. Following the incident at the U.S. embassy in Belgrade, I had enough of Balkan politics and decided to focus on daily life in Belgrade. Especially the life I encountered among my friends: a small alternative group of young people”, titled My Belgrade.”

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