Following a dark journey of discovery through the former lands of Yugoslavia, Spomeniki presents a visionary series of monuments with unique shape, form, and texture. Exploring the landscape of a broken dream, the imagination brings these lonely monuments akin to those of an ancient civilization, buried by the sands of time. Through the language of sculpture, each site offers to tell the story of its past. The past of wartime events to which they stand to remember. The events too horrific to forget. Through bullet-holes and broken glass, a different story is told, where the lessons of the past become forgotten, and these beautiful structures then fall victim to the very destruction they were created to reflect upon. Their materials stripped, their treasures looted and defaced, their message hollowed and ready to be written again.
The sniper, as it has come to be known, is a monument designed by Bogdan Bogdanović, composed of three finely-cut stone monoliths that align when viewed from certain positions. This site in Serbia commemorates the very first confrontation between German forces and the Partisans in the second world war. Despite the monument-park being neglected, the monument itself remains in remarkably good condition. The scene was illuminated from many positions with a handheld LED flashlight during a long exposure.
In the mountainous heart of Bosnia's Sutjeska National Park, the Battle of Sutjeska Memorial Monument Complex can be found nestled on a small hill in the Valley of Heroes. On the site of Tito's daring escape at the Battle of Sutjeska in 1943, a vast and glorious monument-park was built and competed in 1958. The area is now a small safe-haven in what became a minefield during the Balkan conflicts, and it is not considered safe to venture into the surrounding countryside. Recent landslides have put the monument at risk of collapse.
The iconic monument designed by Miodrag Živković & Ranko Radović is illuminated at night with strong floodlights and captured here over a long exposure with the aid of some gentle moonlight.
The Monument to the Revolution of the People of Moslavina in Croatia. Unmistakable in its form and remarkable in its simplicity, this iconic concrete structure was designed by Dušan Džamonja and created by architect Vladimir Veličković in 1968.
The pre-dawn scene was illuminated from a drone equipped with LED lighting, then supplemented with a handheld LED flashlight.
The stone flower of Jasenovac rises from the darkness to remember the horrors that occurred here in Croatia when during the second world war the site hosted one of the most atrocious extermination camps to exist under axis rule. Operating until 1945, an indeterminate number of victims passed through its gates, never to walk out again. The monument and surrounding park was designed by Bogdan Bogdanovic and completed in 1966.
The peak of Petrova Gora in Croatia, topped with the Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija. The 12 story monument designed by Vojin Bakić & Berislav Šerbetić was used by military personnel during the conflicts of the 1990s, presumably for its commanding views across the area. Once clad with highly reflective aluminum panels, the structure has been partially stripped and exposed to the elements. Souvenirs from the gift shop lie crushed on the floor amongst rifle magazines and spent ammunition. The scene was illuminated using a drone equipped with LED lighting, over a long exposure.
On a clear winter's night, temperatures plummet at the Monument to the Fallen Soldiers of the Kosmaj Detachment in Serbia. Located on the summit of Kosmaj Mountain, The five fins stand 30 meters high, to resemble a five-pointed star. Most features, including bronze plaques, have been stolen from the site; however, it still hosts annual commemorative events to the Kozmaj Partisan Detachment, who operated in the area during World War 2.
Approaching the gaunt figure of the Šušnjar Memorial at Sanski Most, Bosnia. Symbolizing an eternal flame, this monument designed by Petar Krstić commemorates the Ustaše forces' brutal massacre of 27 local ethnic-Serbs in May 1941. The scene was lit using a handheld LED flashlight over a long exposure, in the early hours of a fog-laden night.
Moonlight glistens onto the dew-covered amphitheater of the monument to the fighters of Ljesanke Nahije, near Barutana in Montenegro. This monument stands to remember the local fighters and civilian victims who died during the second world war and symbolizes a hand, reaching up into the heavens. The scene was illuminated by moonlight with supplemental handheld lighting.
Coated in treacherous layers of ice and snow, the Stratište Memorial Complex near Jabuka in Serbia can be found beside the main road. This Spomenik commemorates the 10,000 Jewish, Serb and Roma victims who were murdered at this very site during the ethnic cleansing acted out by the Axis forces. The well-visited site became abandoned after the conflicts of the 1990s, and after a long period of theft and vandalism, the place was recently refurbished at a high cost.
The Monument to the Revolution on Mount Grmeč in Bosnia and Hercegovina. Standing on the site of a secret Partisan hospital that was discovered by the German forces in 1943, this monument lays abandoned, vandalized, and in poor condition. The scene was captured over a long exposure using the light of a handheld flashlight.
Daylight fades over the blooming flower of Gligino Brdo, near Dobriljin in North-Western Bosnia. Designed by Ahmed Bešić, the neglected and little-known monument-park now lies vandalized, overgrown and crumbling apart, with shell casings from the war still visible in the grass. The scene was illuminated using a handheld LED flashlight over a long exposure.
The monument to fallen fighters in Tribalj, Croatia. A small and relatively well-maintained monument bearing a carving of an eternal flame and poetry from the famous Croatian Poet Jure Kastelan. The scene was illuminated using a handheld flashlight over a long exposure.