Nostalgia is very present in Bosnian & Herzegovinian (BiH) society - Yugoslavia is often remembered almost in a utopic way. This photostory explores a self-sufficient lifestyle of a diminishing community in BiH; a visual discourse of a world that seems so ethereal, so far away, that might provoke nostalgia for a simpler way of life. At the same time, the work evokes issues that society in BiH faces as a whole.
In the height of consumerist culture, and what feels like an extremely technologically connected world, this project explores an alternative lifestyle - one that feels so far removed from ‘normal’ daily life. In tiny village of Vrdi, above the city of Mostar in BiH, lives my friend’s grandmother, an 84 year old widow.
Brain drain is a huge issue in BiH - in the last few years 150,000 young people have left the country and 60% aspire to leave. There are now no children living in the village of Vrdi full-time. There is no longer a school. One family in the village has two children, but they are sent to a Catholic boarding school in a town over an hour’s drive away. Families often come to the village at the weekend, bringing grandchildren visit their grandparents. Vrdi is like a microscopic picture of BiH as a whole - so many leaving and only coming back to visit at holiday season.
Most of the residents of Vrdi live self-sustainably and share produce. The village has had electricity for less than twenty years. Yet Vrdi is so cut off from regular life in BiH, that the government’s rubbish disposal service does not come to collect waste. The nearest collection is a half hour’s drive away - this has led to the abandonment of plastic and other waste materials which will not decompose on hillside. Much of these goods are brought by families visiting for the weekend who do not have to live with the consequences of abandoned waste on their land. The environment or climate change agenda is far from being a cause for concern at the political level in BiH.