Ana Opalić – Martina (diary entries 2009 – 2020)

14. 9. – 2. 10. 2020. 



Photos by Davor Konjikušić

Women have been the muses of photography since its inception. The portraits taken by photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz and Lee Friedlander speak volumes of the way they observed and saw the people they loved. Paul Strand wrote about his wife, who had also been his model for many years: “It was always said that you really have to know a place before you start working in it; otherwise you will make something very superficial. You can’t make a portrait of a person unless you know the person, and when you know the person you create the moment or you wait for the moment when they are most alive and most themselves”.

Photographs have become more than just a way of documenting events – more than anything else, they have become the medium though which we have come to view the world around us. The relationship between photographer and subject, however, is never a neutral one – it is the result of a wordless communication and an almost unconscious power play between the two sides. Even in cases when photography serves as a way of cumulatively documenting the mundane day-to-day, or the more-or-less important events of our mutual lives, photos allow us insight into the relationship, as well as the photographer’s attitude towards their subject. The artist Ana Opalić creates most of her work through extended periods of time, constantly seeking answers to her own musings and interactions with spaces and people close to her. Her series titled Martina (diary entries 2009 – 2020) is comprised of a large number of photos depicting a young woman in a wide range of situations and moods. Over the period of eleven years Ana Opalić has taken pictures of her at home, on trips, in nature, in the company of others and alone, pensive or laughing, posing good-naturedly or otherwise completely ignoring the camera’s presence. The unscripted scenes allow us a glimpse into the way Martina and Ana communicate through the camera, conscious of their own and each other’s roles as the observer and the observed. The Martina series is an honest testament of a relationship, but also a diary of sorts, the photos divulging a powerful bond and allowing us entry into the photographer’s personal space.


Ana Opalić was born in 1972 in Dubrovnik. She graduated from the Academy of dramatic arts in Zagreb with a master in Film and Video Cinematography. She does photography, videos and documentaries. She’s been having independent exhibitions since 1991. She founded the webpage Suvremena hrvatska fotografija (Contemporary Croatian Photography). She filmed and directed two documentaries – Once again (Ana Opalić & Noah Pintarić, 2014) and The Cure 2018 – which screened at the movie festivals Zagreb Dox and Dok Leipzig. She also published two books on photography: Brsalje in 2017 and Home in 2018, and a third in co-authorship with the architect David Kabalin, titled Dubrovnik Caravan Road in 2019. She lives and works in Zagreb.

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