Hrvatski fotografski centar (HFC) će početkom 2020. godine organizirati izložbu fotografskih portreta građana RH te izdati prvu monografiju PORTRET HRVATSKE 2020 kojom ćemo današnju RH predstaviti Europskoj...
B&W negative film
Archival pigment print
1955/1959, printed later
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The Mediterranean brightness of Milan Pavić
Having been brought up on the experiences of a southern continental light, Milan Pavić has approached the motifs of Croatia’s coastal region with particular love and care. His visits to the Adriatic during the fifties and early sixties activated his passion for reportage, but, above all, they encouraged his search for a beauty at once chaste and intimate. The poetry (as well as function) of his recording from that time was akin to bearing witness to work and everyday life (inasmuch as it was complementary to realistic and social tendencies).Nevertheless, his most successful realisations distanced themselves from a factually based interpretation and strived instead for a lyrical sublimation and structural organisation of the frame, almost reaching the threshold of a „separated“ autonomous form.
Several Mediterranean locations, as pars pro toto, represented ancient and archaic forms of economic production along the coastline. From Cres, across the Kornati islands, Krapanj and Rogoznica, all the way to Ston and the surrounding areas of Dubrovnik, typical scenes of work by the shore were captured. These were mainly linked to extraction from the sea: to the harvesting of salt and coral, to the trapping of fish and farming of oysters.
The olive tree and little donkey, the sheep and the island panorama all take on the role of pictorial detail or caesurae, in order to lessen the epopee of industry. Yet the work sequences are also calm, or rather, they have been captured at the moment of complete balance between posture and movement. Figures and objects enter the lens of Pavić only at the point at which they have established a measured relationship with their surroundings, when the figures from the first plane compositionally synchronise with the background.
No wonder, then, that this photographer prefers the use of a square frame, while for his arrangement of elements he employs, more or less on a regular basis, accentuated diagonals running from the bottom corner of the image to the top corner. He pays special attention, however, to the treatment of surface, aiming to get the emulsion to react appropriately with the sea’s heaving surface, with the earth’s rough skin, and with the cellular clusters of figs, sponges or the mesh of fishing nets. He therefore chooses a light which stretches in relief the epidermis of the frame and pulls forth the solar energy accumulated in matter. Because, in the creations of Pavić, the salt shimmers, fish scales glitter, the whiteness of stone glares out, and the sea reflects the light from the heavens. Thus, from the majority of motifs, suffused with calm and dignity, there emanates a (almost auroral) brightness. To paraphrase the Croatian poet Tin Ujević, life by the sea’s shores offers itself to us here as a „crystal square of brightness“.