A forest fire in Croatia turns the coastline into a post-apocalyptic vision

1 March 2019
Text: Liza Premiyak
Image: Ive Trojanović

The coastline of Croatia’s Pelješac peninsula is populated with dense pine forest — meaning that, for most of the year, the landscape wears a rich colour palette of verdant greens and dazzling blues. Last summer, at the end of the typically busy holiday season, the peninsula was disrupted by a wildfire and the brightly-hued surroundings engulfed by a sepia tint.

Ive Trojanović, who was visiting home from university, had the instinct to grab his camera. “The first thing I thought is that this event needs to be immortalised,” recalls the photographer, originally from Orebić on the southern coast of the peninsula.

“Villagers, or volunteers in this case, pointed me to the most affected places. They were hospitable and, understandably, quite shaken. Thanks to all their efforts, the flames didn’t reach the homes of the locals. Unfortunately, a significant part of the pine tree forest was severely burned.” The only indication that the image is taken near the coast is the boat parked at the petrol station.

Trojanović is currently studying cinematography at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb and something in this shot certainly recalls the kind of blighted landscape you find in post-apocalyptic films like Mad Max: Fury Road or even Tarkovsky’s Stalker. He says he was inspired by British photographer Simon Norfolk, who is best known for his disquietingly still landscapes of war-torn lands.

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