The hills that surround Sarajevo make for a scenic view but turned the city center into a deathtrap when occupied by attacking Serbian forces in 1992. The 1,425-day siege lasted until 1996 and daily bombing and sniper fire caused the deaths of more than 11,000 people, of whom some 1,800 were children.
Sarajevo – Photo Tip

When photographing cities, start with an overview

Photo by Christian Kober

Sarajevo – Photo Tip When photographing cities, start with an overview

When I arrive in an unfamiliar city for a photography job, I stick to my winning two-step process. Number one: find an overview. Number two: zoom in on a detail.

Christian Kober
Christian Kober

The history of the Balkan war and the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, together with the prospect of future entry into the European Union was always going to make Bosnia a place of huge interest to me, both culturally and photographically. Thankfully I got the opportunity to photograph its capital city, Sarajevo.

When I arrived in Sarajevo I started at step one: before I decide how to photograph a location, I always like to find a high point in the city. Not only because it helps with orientation for further exploring but it also almost invariably makes for a great photography subject. I prefer going just before sundown, since twilight is one of the best times to capture the atmosphere and detail of the city which can be lost later at night.

After getting my overview shot, I decided to visit the Kovači cemetery. With so many killed in the war, the cemetery was an obvious place to go in order to zoom in on the full story of Sarajevo and its people. The landscaping of this site was lovely. A small stream running through the cemetery made the location perfect. I imagine the water symbolizing renewal or transformation, representing the hopes of everyone in their new country.

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Kovači is the main cemetery for those Muslim soldiers and civilians killed during the Siege of Sarajevo. The burial ground is one of the oldest in Sarajevo, dating from the 14th century, and has some historic Ottoman nišan tombstones from the 15th century. Photo by Christian Kober / Getty Images

Christian Kober

Christian Kober

Nikon D2x

Agency
Getty Images
Aperture
ƒ/13
Exposure
1/200
ISO
100
Focal
24 mm

Kovači is the main cemetery for those Muslim soldiers and civilians killed during the Siege of Sarajevo. The burial ground is one of the oldest in Sarajevo, dating from the 14th century, and has some historic Ottoman nišan tombstones from the 15th century.

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