The Black Border of Difference

photography Damil Kalogjera
written by Miljenko Jergović


Was there ever a time when Damil Kalogjera was not photographing? There are very few of them who remember him in such a way. Having spent their formative years in cinema clubs and photography courses for amateurs organised in various cultural and students’ centres, many photographers of his generation from Zagreb and Croatia, as well as from other parts of former Yugoslavia, started their professional careers by contributing to the last youth work actions in the early 1980s, as well as by collaborating with youth newspapers and literary magazines. So did Damil – very early on, he entered the world of photography and found himself observing from that other side, behind the protected and anonymous lens of his camera. It was a time of elegant and precisely made black and white photographs with a border which guaranteed to the newspapers’ readers and to the observers that they were not looking at a re-framed world. That black border represented the difference between the truth and lie, and between a true photographer and a dilettante. It was an era that knew nothing of things such as Photoshop; it was a period when photography was supposed to show the bare truth and when that art was primarily defined by the viewing angle. It was a time of strong contrasts, of black and red as fundamental typographic colours and of deep shadows into which a half of a face and a half of the Moon were drowned…