Joakim Kocjancic: Europea
Hardcover, 222 x 283 mm, 224 pages
Joakim Kocjancic (b. 1975, Italy) was born to a Swedish mother and Italian father while his ancestors came from Slovenia, resulting in him having a Slavic surname. Throughout the past years, he lived in many European countries, learned numerous languages, and initially married a Belgian woman. Consequently, he never really identified with just one nationality and decided to explore the question of what it means to be European through his lens. By capturing European metropolises and their inhabitants in his latest book ‘Europea’, he attempts to create a contemporary portrait of the continent that additionally reflects his own mixed identity.
Kocjancic was inspired by George Steiner’s influential text The Idea of Europe: An Essay in which the author ruminates upon the idea of Europe – what makes it special and what will be its future. In ‘Europea’, Kocjancic follows up on his quest with a more personal approach and explores the question of Europe photographically.
His photographs are purely black-and-white with defined contrasts and noticeable grain. They all have this buzzing energy, immersing one in the busy cityscapes. Everyone portrayed seems to be in motion, in a hurry to reach a certain destination or they are simply lost in their own minds. The monochrome palette functions as a sort of unifying factor of the images, highlighting the people’s individual features yet blends their states of being and environments into one big melting pot of borderless history and culture where the focus instead becomes the human condition.
With all the chaos of each place, Kocjancic brings order with his sequence of photographs. Its fast pace makes us drift through the crowds, traffic, and architecture as if we were flying through each city with an invisible plane. His compositions and edits evoke this surreal cinematic timelessness when flipping the pages.
In ‘Europea’ the artist shows us the beauty of this European mosaic lying in its diversity and constant process of re-forming and being in flux with the surroundings. As Kocjancic states himself in the foreword of his book: “By reflecting myself in other people, I search for myself, find points of reference, make sense of my values, discover the things I love, and preserve what I don’t want to be lost.” Perhaps, the difference in our yearnings, hopes, and dreams is what essentially makes us European…
‘Europea’ is available for purchase here.