The Landscape Photography of Nenad Saljic

… In order to understand the significance of the award-wining series of works by Nenad Saljic, in both an international as well as local context, we need to delve deeper into the history of photography itself, and landscape photography in particular, as its own autonomous genre. Landscape photography, which is at the center of the author's work, stands out among other genres in photography precisely because it does not capture a moment in time or the fleeting nature of objects, which is characteristic of the medium as a whole, particularly for journalistic or life photography. Landscape photography, in complete contrast to those genres, doesn't capture a moment, but rather the persistence and stability of a geological timeframe, which routinely transcends time for both the observer, and the photographer. It is by virtue of their convergence that many questions arise, which also transcend the common themes of photography, and introduce wholly new concepts for perception and analysis, the psychological and metaphysical concepts in defining time, and the concept of lasting and temporality. This is also true of the geocosmic time present in the photographs of Nenad Saljic, which routinely showcases not only stars or massive rock formations, but also temporal weather conditions.

Landscapes such as this, once photographed, have an almost therapeutic effect upon the observer. For those of us who've not physically scaled mountains, particularly not at night, these photographs offer the opportunity of photographically facilitated meditation in nature, at a somewhat lesser, and thus less intimidating, scale, as well as an experience devoid of the physical and climatic hardships that the author might have encountered.

… Namely, landscape photography doesn't portray just the landscape itself; rather, as can be seen in Saljic's work, it also includes the complex relationship between author and object. The author faces objects of remarkable longevity, as would an observer, which allows him to reevaluate his own importance and temporality. The impact of such emotions is often visible on the photographs themselves, and we encounter melancholic and dour, calming, terrifying or even enticing landscapes. These landscapes clearly appear as subjects in their momentary interaction with the photographer, i.e. the observer. The author faces them alone, in evident silence, often at night... seemingly without fear.

… Judging from the photographs of Nenad Saljic, who follows the ways of past photographers by going on expeditions to far and foreign mountain spaces, in which he mostly works at night, in a world of ecocataclysm, the relationship between man and landscape remains, in a way, an unchangeable form of communication, a place of contemplation and communication. The poetic and mystical, far and frightening, changing and simultaneously lasting mountain massifs in these photographs communicate precisely that warning which they communicated several hundred years ago, of the transient nature of man, while simultaneously being critical of civilization itself, which, while not portrayed in the photographs themselves, becomes a background motif for them.

Ana Peraica, Ph. D.
An Excerpt from the Exhibition Catalogue
Nenad Saljic, Split, Croatia, 27.06-15.07.2013

2013 Sony World Photography Awards

I have a long affiliation and appreciation of this statuesque mountain but this image, indeed the whole series (A Portrait of the Matterhorn) by Nenad Saljic, is masterful in showing this beautiful colossus with its own personality and moods. The photographs are exquisitely shot and remind one of the works of the American photographer Ansel Adams, the father of black and white environmental photography.

Honorary Judge Francesca Sears on her favourite images
2013 Sony World Photography Awards

Posted on May 2, 2013

Majestic Matterhorn Portraits by Nenad Saljic

My Modern Met

By Alice Yoo
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of My Modern Metropolis

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 10:30am

Nenad Saljic’s Mountain Memento

Nenad Saljic is a Croatian artist who discovered his twin passions for photography and mountaineering early, while still in primary school. Looking at his impressive prints, it will not surprise you to know that he was almost expelled from school for spending too much time in the darkroom.

Saljic uses long exposures that condense time, creating records of the movement of the wind, water and trees, where light and shadow meet in a tremendous, blissful moment. Saljic writes: “Being mountaineer and caver from a very early age brought me to some magnificent destinations where human footsteps have rarely or never been before. The feeling is amazing and hardly explicable by words. I want my images to convey exactly that kind of transcendent experiences, to take the viewer into my deepest emotional journeys. I¹d like you to feel like traveling Jules Verne’s voyages when looking at my pictures; to make the impossible possible.”

By Rebecca Horne
Wall Street Journal Photo Editor
Lux Archive Blog

February 8, 2012

Friday feature: Nenad Saljic

I first came across Nenad Saljic’s work when he won the Gold Award in B&W’s 2011 Singe Image Contest. His image ‘A Church Inside a Church #1, Drvenik Veliki, Coroatia, 2010’ (above) is a stunning image full of symbolism: a prominent silhouetted cross, the overhead sweeping heavens and a slightly elevated composition that suggests we have ascended ‘above’.

The starburst sets a mystical, evangelical overtone; the open gate invites us to pass through (over?) and enter this centred, meditative space. It’s universal, it’s bigger than us. And perhaps better.

Nenad Saljic produces images that seem concerned with overt spiritual messages and inspirations; his recent 2011 work such as ‘Walk the Line’ also connotes mysticism. There’s a force of nature captured so strongly its significance is reflected in its overt presence. Big fat thumbs up.

Eighteen39 by Dawn Schuck
In features on June 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Evening Clouds by Nenad Saljic

Croatian Nenad Saljic fell in love with photography and the mountains in his early teens. Of course, life has a habit of getting in the way and in the course of some life events, he pretty much left his passions unpursued. Fortunately for Saljic (and the rest of us) he rediscovered his passion for photography and has graced us with some beautiful black and white photos. In 2009 and 2010 he produced a series called “Matterhorn”, which are, of course, shots of The Matterhorn in the Pennine Alps. The photo below, entitled “Evening Clouds”, comes from this series.

Few things can bring forth the image a grand conjuration than watching clouds borne from orographically influenced winds. I was treated to a few myself as a Weather Observer in the United States Air Force, although admittedly nothing to this scale. I’m reminded of the great eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I wonder if this is the last thing that most of the rest of Middle Earth will see before the shadow of death descends upon them. One almost gets the feeling of being a Hobbit watching from a hiding place as the conjuration of evil begins to really take hold.

The play on the tones is the part that sets the mood of this photograph. The dark foreground tones suggest a hiding place – we have our safe vantage point and as long as the mountain can’t see us we are safe. The moutain itself is mostly low-key in tone. Toward the bottom it is lighter and gets darker as you go up, which suggest that a transformation of sorts is taking place. Of course, the clouds are the stars of this photograph. The brilliant white stands in stark contrast to the rest of the photo, letting us that we are in for something. The beauty of the clouds belies both the violence that produced them and the violence that is sure to follow their conjuration. And when one looks at the fact that the peak of The Matterhorn is enveloped by the clouds, one can’t help but get the impression that they’re in the path of the full force of what’s to come.

Of course, these clouds are merely the result of updrafts over the surface of the mountian. Even though I can’t see the rest of the sky, I would safely assume that support for these clouds is almost non-existent at a few miles from the mountian itself. Of course, not many people outside the meteorological community (or those who live near the mountain) would necessarily know that.

Normally when we see photographs of the power of nature, it’s in the aftermath of whatever phenomenon took place. This photograph provides a rare glimpse at how powerful nature is, even on a small scale. What makes this photograph even more powerful is that it almost seems to contain that power, even though we know what’s coming toward us. The play on the tones of the photo suggests a doom scenario where Mother Nature is releasing her full power and the viewer, unfortunately, is about to be caught up in it.

Rick's Picture Corner Blog
posted on Sunday, January 9th, 2011 at 12:39 am