Restriction is a Challenge to Creativity

author Damir Fabijanić
interviewed by Divna Antičević, Vera Grimmer


Interviewed in Zagreb on 27 June 2016


An unusually versatile author, Damir Fabijanić is open to different social and cultural fields. However, in the first place, he has realized himself as an author of artistic photography. An important segment of his work is certainly the architectural photography into which he has introduced new approaches and methods. His visions of cultural phenomena such as Pag lace, Šibenik Cathedral, or Dubrovnik summer palaces are far from mere documentarity, but rather provide new and unexpected experiences. Regardless of whether photographing historic building heritage, landscapes, fish, or shellfish, Fabijanić will provide us with moments of surprise and pleasure. His photographs of the ravages of war in Croatia 1991–95 are never rough nor unambiguous, but stir our emotions and thoughts.


ORIS — In a wide range of your engagements as a citizen, public person, artist, one of the essential things is the publishing of the book The Villa of Dubrovnik together with Professor Nada Grujić. In my opinion, it is one of the most important books concerning the culture of this country. You have managed to accomplish a congenial achievement and really free those villas of their very poor, dilapidating current context and, with attention to details and professional framing choices, you succeeded in making that which Nada Grujić calls an imaginary villa.


Damir Fabijanić — This book is beautiful, wise and unique; I envy everyone who can say that they made something definite – that is what Zvonimir Berković wrote about the book. It is a nice thing to hear. It could be said that this book is a typical project of mine. It is important that I fully respect people who are experts in their fields and the expert was Nada Grujić. I asked her to compile a list of things that should be documented. What usually happens is – the same goes for the book The Colours of Homeland, a book about Šibenik-Knin County from 1998 – that I add my part later on. Here, the selection was even more rigorous. When everything was finished, both Nada and I took our sieves out and put the photography through those sieves, or criteria. For example, I dismissed some photographs I was very fond of in the end, because Nada said that according to some art history standards it was not that important, for example, it was poorly reconstructed so it lost its original value. And vice versa, some photography seemed thematically great to her, but I decided to remove it as it was not strong enough, photographically. The text is accompanied by small illustrative photographs and, in the end, only 33 most representative photographs were reproduced in a larger size, in the book’s full format. That is how the imaginary villa came to life, composed of parts of villas that once stood formidably and now exist only in fragments. That is why the title is in singular, the villa of Dubrovnik, this ideal villa. It is important to say that analog photography was used exclusively, on a film and without Photoshop.