Dragan started photography back in the 80’s through watching his uncle creating his own black and white photos in his darkroom in his hometown of Belgrade in Serbia. He was around twelve and his first camera was an extremely low-tech, fully manual plastic box which was capable of taking surprisingly decent photos. He has been taking photos ever since.
Unlike other photographers, Dargan doesn’t specialize in one genre of photography, but rather tries to break from that mould to create images which rely on different elements to work in harmony with each other. He views his images as “…book jackets for stories I have not written, and never could have written, because they are not stories that can be told in words.”
His images have a certain elegance and almost dreamlike appearance that capture the viewer’s attention and thoughts. They are works of art that don’t conform to society’s normal views and set-ups of photographs.
Dragan, where do you currently live?
I live in Belgrade, Serbia. This is also where I’m from.
What genre of photography do you specialize in?
None, I’m trying to replace the monotony of a genre and style with polyphony, or even better, sometimes a formal polyphony using devices from literature and philosophy.
Describe your style of photography?
My desire is for the photograph to not only convey a story about itself, but also about the person who took it, as if each photograph could be a mirror. The benefit of picking a style and staying consistent (and I hate consistency, I love to confuse people) is that having a distinct style is just easier to market. That’s all. And I’m not doing photography to be famous or to sell things and so I don’t try to limit my expression to one voice or tone.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve admired the works of Vadim Yusov and Aleksandr Knyazhinsky. They were cinematographers but their work with Andrei Tarkovsky made me love the world of pictures. I was profoundly affected by the photography in his films, more than anything else I had seen before.
What is your favourite memory from your experiences?
Without question, that would have to be developing photos in the darkroom.
What’s in your camera bag?
I use a Fuji X-T1 with set of different lenses.
What advice you would give anyone who is starting out?
I would advise them to read Camera Lucida. It is a short book published in 1980s by the French literary theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes. It was one of the most important early academic books of theorization on photography.
Any pitfalls they should avoid?
To avoid bad literature.
Lastly… if you weren’t a photographer what would you be doing?
I’m not a professional photographer but I would have to say an artist of any kind.
To view more of Dragan’s work or get in contact with him visit his website.
Images by Dragan Todorović. All rights reserved. No usage without permission.
Interview by Kav Dadfar.