Bosnia Blues (2013-2014)


Bosnia, was the place  I visited for my Bachelor thesis to find out what a war sadly can do to a culture, and to find if a society can overcome fear and anger.

Yes it can, at least in a sence of keeping it's character without bitterness. I personally felt "blue" and melancholic for Bosnians, but there was also so much joy , open hearts and acceptance inbetween those painful moments where I saw the  scars this country  has as consequence of a war. A war between the years of 92 and 95 that I see as unfair still, writing this after nightshifts, months of research that I did.

Bosnia and especially Sarajevo were facing times of numbness and everyday horror, when Serbian Snipers started to sourround the capital with snipers. Which later was called the "Sieged Sarajevo" actually is a very peaceful capital , with multicultural backrounds. Since the fall of jugoslavia though, there was claims of Serbia to invade Sarajevo and evolve it to be on their side. The mix of ethnies and few ,facing a right wing parlament in Bosnia , we shortening the fuse for a huge conflict that has then shattered the country . I wanted to find my own image of this country and its history and conclude the situation in the country - also talking with my generation from 25-35 years old. A generation has been childs during the war and now is living in a country, that on oneside is facing mere structural problems and on the otherside attends to be part of the EU. This acceptance is of course influenced by political means . But how is the population living in Bosnia coping with regression. Civil-population that is in fact not accountable for the mistakes and injustice that has happened between 93-95.

My personal perception in exchange with the locals:

Never in Bosnia I had any problem,whether day or night. Whether in the outskirts of Sarajevo in the deepest fog, or in the woods next to Bears and lonely Rangers, whether on roads on my own, in Bars where no one knew me. Even when the police stopped me for speeding and I declared my self as a German (Schwabo as they say ) I was released without having to pay cause the policeman was laughing with me about my selfirony. I could not believe , that Bosniaks were involved or even intended a war from it's start. 


Later in the 90s toll even nowadays, it becomes clear which initiators are accountable for the war. The UN Tribunal in Den Hague f.e. indicted Radovan Karadzic and few high ranked military generals from Serbia and Republica Srpska .


Concerning the local Bosnians and especially Bosniaks (Muslim inhabitant) all I recognized was the longing for acceptance, "open doors" wherever you would go. The multiethnical country has so much to offer, if taking a look behind it's history.


 I started my journey,in the heart of the so called "Jerusalem of Europe", Sarajevo . A melting pot of in a valley in the middle of europe, sourrounded by beautfiul mountainscapes. Retrospectively it is a tragedy, that especially this place as a mix of Religions (Orthodox, Jewish and Christian) which was known for long ethnical friendship,  in the 90's became the symbol of a war inside Europe.


To quote a Bosnian friend of mine..

"Sarajevo and Bosnia, saw ages of Darkness , but inbetween that Darkness it has always preserved it's soul." 


Thank you Lamia, for these words. I couldnt have said it better.

My photos that can only indicate something , that is this farrago of darkness and history.


Thanks to all the friends that I made and who made this project happen. The photos can only depict a part in this project. Something like Sevdah, the happy music, with the tragic underline.


Throughout the country Harm, my translator , became my friend and took the time to visit places and families who would retell a little of what has happened and talk with us about future and desires of the country which nowadays is neigbouring Croatia and Montenegro.













Thanks to the helpful friends I worked with on the way :


Lamia and her friends who gave me the first couch to sleep,


Srce Sarajevo ( Heart of Sarajevo Hostel) , my small refugium travelling Bosnia.


 R.I.P Sead , I will never forget drinking my first Slibovica with you and all the nights we talked on history, life, music. Everytime I hear Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms I would think of you somehow and wish we could meet again someday in Sarajevo. You hosted me 4 weeks without compromise and I saw your hard work .


Nemanja and Danilo for always being funny and making great music and inspiring me with lots of historical stories.


Harm for the best translation and being such a patient travel companion.


Benjamin for showing that theres no limits. Benjamin travelled by bike from Amsterdam over Bosnia to Iran later on.


Bojan and his bar for authentic nights and a subcultural lessons on Balkan culture.


Dubioza Kollektiv for letting me walk backstage without any pass.


The Kids from Alipasino for showing that peace is possible through all religions -cause they accept each other , no matter what whom believes.


Kino Bosna for letting my head rest after sad and long cold days.


Black Box Sarajevo for having great photos,keeping history alive.


Team of ARTE TV/ SPIEGEL TV

who inspired me, made my firsts steps possible on Bosnian ground.



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Welcome to Sarajevo in the deepest winter. I spent 6 weeks during 2013 and 2014 in Bosnia - less than 20 years after the war in 1993-1995

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Welcome to Sarajevo in the deepest winter. I spent 6 weeks during 2013 and 2014 in Bosnia - less than 20 years after the war in 1993-1995

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The fog appears due to the pollution which is caused by using wrong  but cheaper heating material. Sarajevo is counted to be one of the most polluted capitals worldwide.

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The fog appears due to the pollution which is caused by using wrong  but cheaper heating material. Sarajevo is counted to be one of the most polluted capitals worldwide.

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Kids growing up between the skyscrapers where Serbian Snipers used to hide during the Siege of Sarajevo in 1993

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Kids growing up between the skyscrapers where Serbian Snipers used to hide during the Siege of Sarajevo in 1993

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A snowstorm does not keep the people from going to the mosque

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A snowstorm does not keep the people from going to the mosque

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A young man jumping of the bridge in Mostar which departed Croatians and Bosnians during the war. Stari Most, that brigdge, was destroyed and later rebuild. The first jum was 1664, and we are talking about a historical bridge with almost 500 years age, that was destroyed in just one day in 1993.

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A young man jumping of the bridge in Mostar which departed Croatians and Bosnians during the war. Stari Most, that brigdge, was destroyed and later rebuild. The first jum was 1664, and we are talking about a historical bridge with almost 500 years age, that was destroyed in just one day in 1993.

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Bosnia had over 30 percentage of unemployment after the war, which also is forcing peopke in Sarajevo to move to the outskirts with affordable rents.


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Bosnia had over 30 percentage of unemployment after the war, which also is forcing peopke in Sarajevo to move to the outskirts with affordable rents.


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A businesstower seen through a shattered house in Central Sarajevo

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A businesstower seen through a shattered house in Central Sarajevo

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Two Chessplayers improvising their game on a local market

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Two Chessplayers improvising their game on a local market

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The Koma family used to flee from the warzones in to the mountain

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The Koma family used to flee from the warzones in to the mountain

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Kettle of the nomads in the maglic heights

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Kettle of the nomads in the maglic heights

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A man trying to follow his work at minus 10 degrees in Sarajevo

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A man trying to follow his work at minus 10 degrees in Sarajevo

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Two of 11 thousand stray dogs,which have caused real problems in Sarajevo. The problem was a lack of food and temperatures down to -15 where the dogs could get really aggressive.

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Two of 11 thousand stray dogs,which have caused real problems in Sarajevo. The problem was a lack of food and temperatures down to -15 where the dogs could get really aggressive.

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While taking a portrait , the pigeon wants to steal some bread. Little enchantings inbetween everyday life 

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While taking a portrait , the pigeon wants to steal some bread. Little enchantings inbetween everyday life 

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Kids showing a Serbian Symbol while heatin up at a War memorial. The society is mixed in three ethnies in Sarajevo

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Kids showing a Serbian Symbol while heatin up at a War memorial. The society is mixed in three ethnies in Sarajevo

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Love may always be the answer . Sarajevo Stadium in 2013 

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Love may always be the answer . Sarajevo Stadium in 2013 

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Atmosphere errupting at a local concert of Dubioza Kolektiv. Sarajevo was the main influence of Rock Music in Yugoslavia. Of course a statement for an open consciousness

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Atmosphere errupting at a local concert of Dubioza Kolektiv. Sarajevo was the main influence of Rock Music in Yugoslavia. Of course a statement for an open consciousness

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Lucky to have work, a young model checking himself in the mirror before a show.30 Percent of the youth has high acadaemic grades but suffers with unenemployment that would offer them options for an own house.


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Lucky to have work, a young model checking himself in the mirror before a show.30 Percent of the youth has high acadaemic grades but suffers with unenemployment that would offer them options for an own house.


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Roma Salesman organizing goods at the market

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Roma Salesman organizing goods at the market

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Working at -10 degrees, still laughing - a kind of Balkan temper

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Working at -10 degrees, still laughing - a kind of Balkan temper

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A small hut of a family in Alipasino,Sarajevo . 

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A small hut of a family in Alipasino,Sarajevo . 

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Mostar,nowadays well visited by tourists, still remains fractured

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Mostar,nowadays well visited by tourists, still remains fractured

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An Orthodox Priest in Mostar

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An Orthodox Priest in Mostar

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Between beauty and shattered houses. Mostar situated between the Mountains is growing through post-war-tourism while it could just have grown by natural tourism if the war did not evolve the way it did.

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Between beauty and shattered houses. Mostar situated between the Mountains is growing through post-war-tourism while it could just have grown by natural tourism if the war did not evolve the way it did.

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Sight from a mosque in New Sarajevo

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Sight from a mosque in New Sarajevo

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A seemingly sad teenager near one of many big graveyards in Sarajevo reminding of the history everyday

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A seemingly sad teenager near one of many big graveyards in Sarajevo reminding of the history everyday

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Statistics say 673 villages were completely ruined, 917 mosques completely destroyed, also 275 catholic churches  7 synagogses and 34 orthodox churchs of the Serbs vanished during the war. What's left is thousands of graves all over the country.

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Statistics say 673 villages were completely ruined, 917 mosques completely destroyed, also 275 catholic churches  7 synagogses and 34 orthodox churchs of the Serbs vanished during the war. What's left is thousands of graves all over the country.

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A shattered house remained from the war.

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A shattered house remained from the war.

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Portrait of a man who works at the border to Republica SRPSKA and says he is depending on working with Serbs nowadays.

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Portrait of a man who works at the border to Republica SRPSKA and says he is depending on working with Serbs nowadays.

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Bosnian Economy still contains a third based on agriculture

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Bosnian Economy still contains a third based on agriculture

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Portrait of very openminded Dragan, a farmer near Foca

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Portrait of very openminded Dragan, a farmer near Foca

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Living remote from the city requires some agricultural knowledge to grow her own food.

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Living remote from the city requires some agricultural knowledge to grow her own food.

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Light breaking over the Bosnian Highlands

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Light breaking over the Bosnian Highlands

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Traces of modern era, a solar panel to gain some electricity in the mountains, where people live remote

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Traces of modern era, a solar panel to gain some electricity in the mountains, where people live remote

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Brother and Sister just relaxing, wondering what a German does up here in the mountains..

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Brother and Sister just relaxing, wondering what a German does up here in the mountains..

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Portrait of a Nomad family 

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Portrait of a Nomad family 

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Everybody in the Koma family helps. Signs of peace ,far from historically influenced places

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Everybody in the Koma family helps. Signs of peace ,far from historically influenced places

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To travel to Montenegro for gathering food this family sattles it's horses

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To travel to Montenegro for gathering food this family sattles it's horses

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A man resting at a graveyard in Mostar

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A man resting at a graveyard in Mostar

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Fazila who sells souvenirs in front of the graveyard where her family is buried to remind of the the tragic history Bosniaks and her family had to suffer through. A woman I have the deepest respect for and where I have shed tears after hearing her story which is so tragic. I wish just the best for her

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Fazila who sells souvenirs in front of the graveyard where her family is buried to remind of the the tragic history Bosniaks and her family had to suffer through. A woman I have the deepest respect for and where I have shed tears after hearing her story which is so tragic. I wish just the best for her

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Fazila shows me memories from before war

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Fazila shows me memories from before war

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Graveyard of Srebrenica where 8000 murdered inhabitants rest a symbol for a desaster in European history.

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Graveyard of Srebrenica where 8000 murdered inhabitants rest a symbol for a desaster in European history.

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Scars enlightened by sunlight, 20 years after the war.

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Scars enlightened by sunlight, 20 years after the war.

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Old nasty writings from the dutch UN Bataillon in Screbrenica

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Old nasty writings from the dutch UN Bataillon in Screbrenica

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A sign at the Border of the Republics Srbska:

God has trouble with us , the way we are.

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A sign at the Border of the Republics Srbska:

God has trouble with us , the way we are.

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