Ciril Jazbec: photography as a dance ritual

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Visiting to the online galleries of photographer Ciril Jazbec is like taking a digital flight around the world. “The best comes when everything falls into place and you’re in a state of inspiration. That is when we can compare photography with dancing, which becomes a ritual, and photography becomes a reflection of the body and that which it feels,” states the Slovenian photographer about his creating.

Ciril Jazbec: photography as a dance ritual

Ciril Jazbec wanted to become National Geographic photographer even as a child. He believes that trust is the basis for taking pictures of the seemingly intangible. Trust is also important in relationships with nature, for which he has always felt deep respect and a connection. We trust nature to supply us, but it is losing its trust in us. Ciril Jazbec takes photos you can find in the greatest publications in the world and, lately, documentary videos to make us keenly aware of our planet and of Slovenia, of environmental challenges and local efforts, a view from afar and connection from close up. At work and in life, he aims for the light and for stories of hope towards which each of us must work hard.

As founder and director of the publishing house Tent, Jazbec has filmed three video stories for the Slovenian Tourist Board, namely “Green Slovenia”, “Stay Home Today So You Can Travel Tomorrow”, and “Now is the time. My Slovenia”. Since the corona quarantine took effect in March, his videos have reached thousands of followers online.

 Citizen of the Earth with a permanent address in Slovenia

With a bag full of photography equipment over his shoulder, he has amassed stamps in his passport from all over Europe, Asia, and Africa, and even the icy Arctic. But life in Slovenia is a privilege, he says. “We have wonderful nature and a high quality of life. We aren’t made aware often enough of what we have and what is really important in life.” As good things must be shared, he has recently co-created a video story about Green Slovenia, which is designed to introduce Slovenia’s pristine corners to the international public in a personal and authentic way. Slovenia is an eternal mystery, even for people who live here. His final invitation, entitled “Now Is the Time, to Discover You from Head to Toe”, came out right now as a breath of well-needed fresh air, right when Slovenia lifted coronavirus restrictions. The video production team was fascinated with “what is out there behind a hill or valley” every day, he remembers. He created stories about his hometown of Tržič, under the Karavanke Alps. He particularly likes to go back there after spending a long period abroad. “Be it winter or summer, it captivates me with its nature every time.”

 

You must maintain your home

Planet Earth, where we have all found our place in the sun, is the only one we have, so we must pay attention to the changes taking place. Recently, temperatures have been rising, which affects nature and people alike. Ciril has seen up close the consequences of global warming between Alaska and Siberia on the remote island of Shishmaref, where the rising sea level is washing away the island from under the feet of its residents. He is currently preparing a project on the disappearing glaciers in the Alps. Radical changes are necessary, he reckons. “The personal level is certainly important, but merely sorting waste or replacing inefficient light bulbs is not enough. In addition to amending global regulations, we need to return to the local community. We will have to go back to our roots and learn to live with our environment even more. Local stories with local people will be increasingly important.”

 

Now is the time. My Slovenia.

An opportunity to slow down the pace of life and enjoy a slower rhythm sprang up in the world at the beginning of this year like a blessing in disguise. People have been staying in their own countries, towns, cities, and surroundings. This novel way of life gave rise to the “Time to stay home” video story, with which the creators, including Ciril, urge people to stay home and return to nature. “This is an opportunity to reset everything and for new stories,” he adds. When Slovenia welcomes visitors from the whole world again, we want them to bring with them a new responsibility to the environment and local communities, which will be our motto for the future.

 

Contours of life in the mirror of photography

Today, he frequently steps into the role of a director and into the shoes of a videographer. Nevertheless, most people know Ciril Jazbec as a photographer. His work has been immortalised by The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Wired UK, and La Repubblica to name but a few. He has received countless prestigious awards for consistently documenting the intriguingly weird world we live in and reflecting upon it. When Covid-19 struck, he automatically reached for his camera and began snapping faces in Ljubljana. Photography is just part of his long-running creativity, he says, but it is an exceptionally beautiful and precious process, which, as with many things in life, is hampered when he lacks inspiration. “The best comes when everything falls into place and you’re in a state of inspiration. That is when we can compare photography with dancing, which becomes a ritual, and photography becomes a reflection of the body and that which it feels.”

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