Darko Bavoljak is a versatile, academically educated photographer, who comprehends photography primarily as a profession, and therefore there is no genre at which he did not try his hand. Due to this professional component, sometimes it is hard to answer the question as to which field of work is closest to him, and to evaluate as to in which domain he is particularly successful. It is perhaps exactly this cycle of photographs, taken in the 1990s on Croatian battlefields, that will help us find the answer. And the answer reads as follows: his field of authorial idiom is not the genre or type of photography, but rather the discreet measure of authorial subjectivity that is revealed most easily in the restrained compassion for other people–motifs, in the restrained, somewhat humorous, humane distance from objects or objects–motifs, which are occasionally (as in the cycle The Future) enclosed in nearly conceptual series, with irresistible tragic-grotesque connotations. Perhaps this is where Bavoljak may be the most original: the images of war reflected in the inscriptions (signs) of a small, provincially pretentious company as (was) Budućnost [The Future] from the area of Pakrac and Lipik. By capturing merely the signature of the war (bullets, bombs, fire, shrapnel) on this logotype and without adding a human figure anywhere in these scenes, by way of his documentary photography, Bavoljak has managed to show us that the future is already behind us. The bitter thesis, offered with a great deal of restraint, is one of the most beautiful testimonies on the Homeland War, devoid of pathos, of eliciting affection, of provoking and misusing emotion, which cannot be said of the numerous snapshots by many other war photographers.
Black and white photos. Silver/gelatine Camera: Olympus OM 1n, OM 2n, OM 3, OM 4 Property: Author