A guide to the New East

Sun-kissed

Growing up beside Croatia’s glittering Adriatic Sea

Since her childhood, photographer Lorina Duic has spent balmy summer days on the Adriatic coast. Her home town of Pula, located on the Istrian peninsula in Croatia, is a sun seeker’s paradise. Besides its world-famous Roman architecture and dramatic, rocky coastline, the medieval town is becoming ever more popular with party goers, as the home of several major summer festivals. In her photos Duic shows Pula’s peak season in full swing by turning her lens on her close friends. Set to the backdrop of sapphire waters and dreamy sunsets, Duic captures the freedoms of summer and youth.

“Pula is a small place that really gets under your skin. Summer is when the city comes alive, and that’s when I shoot the most — in winter it’s a ghost town,” says the photographer, who was actually born in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the town of Travnik. Her family was forced to relocate when the war began. “I was just one year old,” she explains, “so I feel I was born here.”

“I got my first proper camera for my 14th birthday as a gift from my dad. Of course, in those years I didn't know anything about photography. I’m grateful for my dad because each time we travelled around Istria, my dad would always lend me his camera to play with.” When Duic started to pursue photography, she was drawn to photograph her friends — “the people that inspired me the most” — and the sea, which has been a constant throughout her life. “My love for the sea, that rush of waves at your feet  — sometimes I think all my photos are portraits of me: who I am and who I’d love to become through photography.”

For the last two years, Duic has been shooting purely with film on an Olympus mju 1, which she calls her “small warrior”. “In the beginning I loved to photograph my best friend Antonia, because we’ve known each other for 22 years. She’s always trusted and believed in me, so I was totally free to experiment with her as my muse. Now, I just enjoy taking photos of all my friends in our moments. Youth is so special: it is when we find out who we are as people.” Talking about what she hopes people see in her images, she says: “it could just be the beauty of youth or the sea, or the sea as standing for the ebbs and flows of life.”

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