A Croatian photographer turns her holiday memories into minimal still lives

26 July 2019

By this point in summer, you’re already tired of scrolling through endless holiday snaps. Artist Katarina Juričić probably felt the same when she challenged herself to encapsulate her family holidays — without a beach or cheesy sunset in sight.

Juričić was born and grew up in Zagreb, Croatia. Moving to the Netherlands for her studies made her yearn for the summers she spent with her family on the island of Brač, which has become a source of inspiration for her photographic work. “Taking the ferry always feels like transitioning from one reality to another,” Juričić says of the uncanny feeling she encounters every time she arrives on, or departs from the island.

These memories do not so much return to her as flood her mind like an incoming tide each year. In 2018, she decided to collect them into a series she titled Home Seack. Typically for the artist, she began the project by searching for ways to translate her visual references into materials, colours, forms, and objects that could be combined and staged together.

For this composition, Juričić borrowed her grandmother’s swim suit and a silver beach mat. Together, they recall a body lounging in the sun, or rather the absence of one. The tomato on the side of the bath is another reference to Grandma Libuša, who the photo is named after.

“One of my immediate associations with my grandmother are these massive organic tomatoes. But also, the tomato functions as a finishing touch — redness balances out the blueness of the image.” The slightly surreal yet caring way Juričić has laid out these objects in the shot takes the image beyond a nostalgic fixation with recreating the past. What emerges is the feeling of playfulness that comes with being on holiday — the shift between reality and fantasy which Juričić feels each time she boards the ferry.

Explaining her personal approach, Juričić reveals more about the impulse to shoot her native Croatia. “There is a stereotypical representation of the Balkans and a common exoticisation of our culture. With my work I try to escape all of that by offering a very honest and intimate, yet universal, view. I take details from my memory as inspiration and aim to convey a certain feeling through the work.”

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