Mr. Bakir Memisevic is a student on the Academy of Music, currently living in Sarajevo. He finished elementary and high school music education in Tuzla, and, naturally, he has dedicated his life to music and everything that comes with it. He is a choir enthusiast and he has been singing for over 10 years in different choirs, being currently a part of an inter-religious choir “Pontanima” family traveling all around Europe presenting the multicultural spirit of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the same time, Mr. Memisevic has a great love for photography.
“My interest for photography started about 10 years ago, with the arrival of the first affordable mobile phones with a built-in camera. Seeing my interest, my parents bought me semi-professional photography equipment over time, which I still use today,” Mr. Memisevic begins an interview with Sarajevo Times.
He adds that, honestly, he does not know the exact reason for cherishing so much love and interest for photography, but researching the late American landscape photographer and ecologist Ansel Adams, he found a possible reason which could subconsciously initiate that love.
What is interesting about Adams is that he spent his formative years obsessively training to become a concert pianist, before transitioning into photography. During his interviews, Adams mentioned that playing the piano actually gave him “a fine basis for discipline in photography”.
“I would also add that playing the piano and exploring music from different aspects in a more mature phase and as such developing my sense of rhythm, timbre (colour), dynamics and other music components also reflected in my interest for photography,” Mr. Memisevic adds.
What is interesting about this young man is that his photography side of career is closely linked with the music one, both have progressed at the same pace and followed up each other.
“Being a musician and constantly keeping track of musical life in Tuzla and being a very accessible and social person, I started photographing concerts of my colleagues. Coming to Sarajevo, or precisely with the beginning of studies at the Academy of Music four years ago, thus being in the very center of best music events in the whole country was a chance that, through time, created more and more opportunities for me to prove myself and to be in touch with some of the biggest names of photography in Sarajevo,” he continues.
Over time, he became the official photographer for the Concert Season of Academy of Music, occasionally collaborating with other music institutions such as the INSAM Institute for Contemporary Artistic Music or the Musicological Society of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also with University of Sarajevo or streetwear brand Rulof.
With these and similar engagements, he deliberately embarked on commercial photography, striving to gain experience knowing that he will be able to use it for creating my authentic style of photographing through the prism of artistic expression.
“I think that having a chance to photograph some of the biggest names in classical and contemporary art music in the country is an interesting thing on its own. Also, I find that linking music to photography on a constructive level is interesting as well, considering that I haven’t met a lot of musicians who are interested in photography, or the other way around,” Mr. Memisevic concludes.
On the question of whether he can single out some of his favourite photographs and tell Sarajevo Times audience more about them, Mr. Memisevic says some of his favourite eight photographs have been taken as part of the concert photographing job for the Academy of Music.
These photographs have more of the artistic approach and were taken under the impression of the music that played during the photography sessions.
“The one showing Konstantin Dupelius, a young German pianist and compositor, on the piano is the first photography in which I played with the darkness and shadows starting my exploration on that matter. The one from The Sound Exhibition is a very significant and meaningful photography because this event was the first of its kind in the whole world. This concept was created by the famous Bosnian composer prof. Dino Rešidbegović who thought the course of Sound Design on the Academy of Music to students whose works were presented that day. I think other photos can tell their story by themselves,” Mr. Memisevic explains.
While looking at his photographs, one can notice that they are mainly about Sarajevo, sunsets and Trebevic Mountain, especially appealing are “Purple Series” photographs, showcasing sunset over Hum Hill.
“As I said before, I like to play with darkness in photography. Having been under the impression of the music of John Cage and how he gave equal importance to silence as to sounds and noises I wanted to incorporate that idea to my expression by giving prominence to darkness too. Except that I really like experimenting with the colours so if you look at some of my photos you can see that they have simple colour patterns, sometimes having just one colour and few of its shades. I don’t like to manipulate with the photos on image manipulation softwares aside from some light or contrast corrections. I enjoy taking photos of nature, everyday situations or sometimes even taking on abstract photography. When taking photos of people I try not to make them the main focus but with carefully chosen surrounding and having every detail figured out “the wider picture” should tell their stories. Also, I’m impressed with sunsets and sunrises, especially the ones I observe from my ninth floor apartment in Sarajevo. I find that the meditative effect that you get from watching sunsets can be caught and seen on photos.
On the question of what are his plans for the next five years, Mr. Memisevic says it is to finish his college education and find a job that will suit my interests in music and photography.
“With the trend of young people leaving their home country in search for a better future, my dream is to be one of the protagonists of the promising future (if there is one) in which our country can make young, ambitious and talented people stay and live a normal life,” Mr. Memisevic concludes.
Interview by Zejna Yesilyurt