|Winner of the Niépce Prize (2000) and of the Leica Prize (2004), Klavdij Sluban is a French photographer of Slovenian origin based in Paris. Now aged 42, he continues the development of his rigorous and coherent body of work. Sluban learnt the subtleties of black & white printing under the guidance of Georges Fèvre. Although he held a Masters' degree in Anglo-American literature, little by little, he gave up teaching to commit wholly to photography. Never inspired by immediate and sensational current affairs, Sluban's numerous photography trips are permeated with literary references for example, Beckett, Milton. The Black Sea, the Caribbean, the Balkans, and Russia can be read as many successive steps of an in-depth study of a patient proximity to the encountered real. His deep blacks and backlit silhouettes convey to his photographic style uprightness and accuracy free of didacticism or exoticism. In 1997, his work Balkans Transits, which he published with François Maspero, was awarded the RFI (International French Radio) prize. Since 1995, when not abroad, Sluban has run photography workshops with young offenders in prison. First originated in France, in the prison of Fleury-Mérogis with support from Henri Cartier Bresson, Marc Riboud and William Klein, this commitment was pursued in the disciplinary camps and prisons of Eastern Europe - Ukraine, Georgia, Moldavia, and Latvia and in the disciplinary centres of Moscow and St Petersburg. By offering us pictures of those places he is familiar with and of their inhabitants to whom he is a true partner, Sluban unveils the problems of closed spaces and constrained horizons. And by doing so, he brings to both our consciousness and senses the fractures of a confinement enhanced by the internalization of perceptions.|
National Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
DOCUMENTARY FILMS ON KLAVDIJ
WORK IN PRISONS
In 2000, K.Sluban created another photographic workshop in Celje, Slovenia, in the only national prison for teenagers.
Following these projects, K.Sluban started working with young prisoners in the former Soviet-Union (Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Latvia), with similar photographic exchange.
Klavdij SLUBAN "TRANSVERSES" ("CROSSINGS")
Klavdij Sluban is a traveller for whom high seasons and travel commerce mean little. From countries generally considered unvisitable, too poor, too sad and grey, he brings back a harvest of pictures, always in black and white. The basis of his photography is time and people - people he would not dream of staring at. For Sluban is no paparazzo of reality, he is a photographer on a human scale, aware of the shifting frontiers of a profession which allows so many different interpretations, including the most idiotic ones.
This explains the way he constantly calls his work into question, often remaining silent for long periods as if he suddenly doubts his strength at the threshold of his own eye. This inner silence, which is at the origin of all his pictures, is in fact his most precious asset. He brings before our gaze those who, in Haiti, in Cuba or in the republics around the Black Sea, stubbornly exist far from our well-worn clichés of social success.
But it would be useless to see these pictures as appeals for witnesses. In the East as in the West, Sluban works alone, a free spirit, with no commitments other than those he imposes on himself, and expecting nothing in return.
His tools are a good pair of shoes, a black box, and his Leica. In his pocket, a book and his faithful compass.
A simple question : What's
the Black Sea like ?
The Black Sea borders seven
countries, from Turkey to Bulgaria. Did one of them have a particular
impact on you ?
Is it hard to come back to
Paris after this kind of trip ?
Three weeks for the trip -
how long does it take you to prepare ?
When you get back do you grab
your contact prints to check the "results"? Or do you
calmly wait for the next stage ?
From the interview with Brigitte Ollier (in "Klavdij Sluban, Transverses", published by Editions Paris Audioviuel/MEP).