I spent years documenting the aftermath of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I’d go inside natural pits to photograph how people search for bones. I documented a community looking for their loved ones on dry beds of a lake. I spent a decade speaking to immigrants and refugees only in a language we can understand, our emotions. Then I sort of diminished from the photo world. Or the world of these hard-heartfelt stories. I didn’t stop photographing, but I returned to Bosnia because I felt the need to slowly start showing the other side of my homeland, the mountains.
I started hiking.
For the world outside Bosnia, this is a normal sport and something that has become quite common. But, I walk on the mountains that wars have been fought on, yet with many others, we manage to live beyond Bosnia’s past.
Though, I am sure, a decade ago, I would have written of the dangers of visiting our mountains due to the mines left from the 90s war. And the war before that, and the First World War. But I am lucky to have discovered Bosnia beyond. For years, my country was angry, or influenced by the politicians who constantly use our past to divide us. No, I’ll never forget the war I survived, or the images my colleagues photojournalists made while risking their own lives here. Or the the aftermath and deep scars of people who let me in their lives.
But what would I proudly say of Bosnia today?
It is that in our hiking boots, we’d fight, but one for another, trying to save each other from falling, or from some wild animal. Because it is in those steps on the way to the mountain, that we leave division behind. And these steps, they aren’t just steps, they are leading us to reach unity that creates better and healthier mindsets of tomorrow.
Welcome to Bosnia-Herzegovina, again.
Or as I call it, the Rebirth Project.