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Inside the Life of a Street Style Photographer: Introducing Dasha Gajic

By Nerina Hodzic Poplata

In case your life's path ever leads you to Bosnia and Herzegovina, you will find some of the world's most beautiful women there: tall brunettes, red-heads, or blondes. We have a huge diversity. Some have even said that one of the largest concentration of beauties in Bosnia are in Banja Luka, which is its second largest city. In fact, I just spoke with a beauty from Banja Luka about? Well read on to find out. 

Street Style Photography

Introducing Dasha Banja Luka, people already know her by her name because of her frequent appearance in lifestyle magazines or fashion shows in Bosnia. She is only 25 years old; has graduated  political science and obtained a masters in gender studies, and she is  a photographer.

This is Dasha! 

Nerina (for Club Fashionista): When we Google your name, our search results show numerous beautiful photographs from the streets of Banja Luka. When did you start your career as a professional photographer? Why exactly is your focus in street style photography? 

Dasha: Thank you for the wonderful compliment. Photography has played a very important role in my life; with that said, I have been a professional photographer with a focus on street style since 2012. I have been interested in street style photography for the last 5-6 years. My interest in street style photography peaked when I lived in the United States; it was there where I encountered street style photography. Hence, I carried what I had learned in the United States to Banja Luka, and began the street style photography trend in my homeland. 

CF: How do you decide who you will photograph? In another words, how are the people you photograph dressed? Do you prefer to take photos of the entire figure of a person or do you  prefer to focus on certain details of an outfit? 

Dasha: In photography, it is all about capturing a moment and recognizing someone's positive or negative energy. Sometimes, a person's entire outfit attracts the lens and sometimes some details, a smile or confidence. I recognize that a detail can make or break an outfit. Overall, I end up photographing equally outfits and details of particular people. 

Baby Fashionista by Dasha Gajic
CF: Is street style photography your full-time job, a hobby, or something other?

Dasha: For a few years, I have been dreaming of pursuing a career in street style photography. Today, I can say that I have realized my teenage dream. I suppose street style photography is my passion, my hobby, and my job. It is a way I can represent my city, its citizens and myself as a photographer. 

CF: Are the people from your city aware of the amount of people you photograph? Do you take any information about the people who you photograph? Have some fashion magazines or modeling agencies contacted you to ask you about some people you have photographed? 

Dasha: Certainly, and I am glad that the fashion industry has reached out and hence has tacitly recognized and accepted my work. I am always happy to meet and chat with the people I photograph. At the end of the day, my work would be impossible without my subjects, my muses so to speak. In fact, I have become friends with some people I photographed on the streets. There are some interesting stories that happened as a result of my street style photography: some people have found their cousins with whom they lost contact. 

CF: Do you think your photography reflects who you are as a person or is your photography some kind of reflection of a collective identity of Banja Luka?

Dasha: I believe my photography is a reflection of my city because I have the opportunity to capture the beauty of Banja Luka, and its spirit that is apparent through its people. I have the privilege to document how Banja Luka grows and to make something that will remain for generations to come.  

CF: Do you take photos of yourself? Or do you have others mostly take photos of you? 

Dasha: Rarely do I take photographs of myself. Actually, I must admit that I do not even like when others take photos of me.

CF: What do you aim to get out of your photography? To earn  a living? A popularity contest? How often do you go onto the streets to photograph people and their street style?

Dasha: My personality is not the type that searches for fame and fortune. My career is based on my passion, and I follow my heart and seek internal fulfillment. Street style photography has done all of the aforementioned; with that said, I have certainly had some difficult moments in my career. With respect to your question about going out and taking photographs, I do it whenever time allows and whenever I am inspired.

CF: Do you have experience in other types of photography other than street style? Or are you only specialized in street style photography? 

Dasha: I have done other type of photography, e.g., food, and portrait photography. With that said, I have the most experience in street style photography and that is where my passion lies.

CF: Do you think you would do well as a photographer of celebrities, photographer for fashion editorials or fashion campaigns? Do you have any ambition to do any of the aforementioned?

Dasha: Thus far, I have had the chance to photograph a few fashion editorials for magazines. I was glad to receive positive reviews. I am not sure what the future holds but if there is an interesting opportunity and an idea to collaborate, I would gladly accept the challenge. 

CF: Are there people you would like to meet and photograph on the streets of Banja Luka? 

Dasha: I am always happy to meet positive and good people. I never have a plan who I will photograph. I like to photograph fashionistas whose style speaks for itself and who are brave to set trends and be themselves. Through the lens, it becomes apparent if a person is comfortable in his or her skin. With that said, it would not hurt if Miroslava Duma, Olivia Palermo or Rachel Bilson were exploring the streets of Banja Luka...

CF: Do you follow Club Fashionista? What do you like the most about Club Fashionista?

Dasha: I follow Club Fashionista on a daily basis and I love it. It is fantastic that you have correspondents from all over the world, that you are different and innovative and that you set a standard how an online magazine should look like.

CF: Do you plan to visit some cities, e.g., Sarajevo, to document street style in other cities? Which city do you see as the ideal place for street style photography? Which city do you think has the most interestingly dressed people? 

Dasha: I like to visit Sarajevo; with that said, unfortunately, I have made far too few trips to and photographs in Sarajevo because I have not had the time. In Sarajevo, there are a lot of stylish people, who I would like to capture through my lens.

For two months, I had the opportunity to work on street style photography in Oslo. I was really impressed with their daily street style, which I managed to capture through my camera. I think Oslo is a wonderful city to pursue street style photography. After Oslo, my ideal cities for street style photography are Stockholm, New York City and London. With that said, I love my hometown of Banja Luka and taking photos here is very fulfilling. 

Street Style Photography

CF: Thank you for the interview! We certainly enjoyed finding out what happens behind the lens of a professional street style photographer. We wish you the best of luck, and look forward to keeping up with your upcoming projects.

Dasha: Thank you! 

In Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian:

Daša Gajić. Po Banja Luci je već poznaju samo pri pomenu njenog imena, no o toj djevojci u posljednje vrijeme možete čuti i pročitati na lifestyle portalima, časopisima, modnim TV emisijama širom BiH. Sa svojih 25 godina, Daša je diplomirani politikolog, master rodnih studija i street style fotografkinja.

Dasha Gajic 
Kod nas se to zna od davnina, no ukoliko nekoga od vas (koji ne živite u BiH) put nanese na ova područja, za tren ćete saznati tu informaciju. Bosanke i Hercegovke su lijepe žene, no kažu da su najljepše one iz Banja Luke. Upravo sa jednom lijepom djevojkom iz Banja Luke razgovarali smo samo za Club fashionista. Pitate se o čemu? Čitajte u nastavku!
CF: Kada ukucamo u google tražilicu tvoje ime dobijemo pregršt divnih fotografija sa ulica Banja Luke? Otkada si počela s fotografisanjem? I zašto baš steet style fotografije?

Dasha: Hvala na krasnom komplimentu. Street style fotografijom se bavim od 2012. godine, iako je fotografija oduvijek bila jako važan dio mog života. Street style fotografija me interesuje posljednjih 5-6 godina, od mog boravka u USA, kada sam se i prvi put susrela sa konceptom street style-a, ali mi je trebalo nekoliko godina da se odvažim na pokretanje street style scene u Banjaluci. 

CF: Kako odlučiš koga ćeš fotografisati, kako su odjeveni ljudi koje rado fotografišeš? Voliš li kompletnu figuru ili foto objektivom radiš zoom na neke detalje?

Dasha: Sve je stvar trenutka i prepoznavanja nečije pozitivne ili negativne energije. Nekada je presudna cijela odjevna kombinacija, nekada me privuče neki detalj, osmjeh, samouvjerenost ili način na koji neko nosi neku odjevnu kombinaciju. Podjednako fotografišem detalje i cijele odjevne kombinacije. Smatram da detalj može podići, ali i upropastiti odjevnu kombinaciju.

CF: Od kuda ti ta ideja? Da li je to tvoj posao, hobi, relaksacija ili nešto četvrto??

Dasha: Par godina sam sanjala o bavljenju street style-om i danas sa ponosom mogu reći da sam ostvarila svoj tinejdžerski san. Mislim da je pravi odgovor sve u jednom. Za mene je street style strast, hobi, igra, uživanje, relaksacija, posao, način da predstavim moj grad, moje sugrađanke i sugrađane, ali i sebe kao fotografkinju.

CF: Da li su ljudi na ulicama tvoga grada svjesni koji broj ljudi vidi tvoje fotografije, i da li uzimaš podatke o osobama koje fotografišeš? Da li se do sada dešavalo da te kontaktiraju neki modni portali, magazini, agencije i da pitaju za neke ljude koje si fotografisala?

Dasha: Mislim da jesu i drago mi je da su i publika i struka prihvatili moj rad. Uvijek mi je drago da upoznam ljude koje fotografišem, jer na kraju krajeva ovo šta radim bi bilo bez njih nemoguće. Sa vremenom sam sa nekim osobama koje sam slučajno srela na ulici i fotkala postala prijateljica. Što se tiče kontaktiranja i upita, zna se i to desiti. U par slučajeva su se čak zahvaljujući stranici na FB i fotkama, pronašli rođaci i prijatelji koji su davno izgubili kontakt.

Street Style Banja Luka by Dasha Gajic
CF: Da li je tvoja fotografija prezentacija tebe kao fotografa, grada Banja Luke, ili svih tih interesantnih ljudi koji su na fotografiji?

Dasha: Jako volim svoj rodni grad i drago mi je da imam priliku da prezentujem ljepote grada Banjaluke kao i sve divne ljude koji u njemu žive. Imam privilegiju da bilježim kako grad diše i da stvaram nešto što će ostati generacijama koje dolaze.

CF: Fotografišeš li sebe? Ili te drugi fotografišu? 

Dasha: Rijetko fotografišem samu sebe. Moram priznati da ne volim ni kada me drugi fotografišu.

CF: Šta je cilj tvojih fotogalerija sa ulica Banja Luke koje postavljaš na svojoj FB stranici? Zarada? Popularnost?? Koliko često izađeš na ulice svoga grada i fotografišeš?

Dasha: Nisam osoba kojoj su na listi prioriteta slava i novac. Radim ovo šta radim zato što u to vjerujem svim srcem i zato što me ispunjava u potpunosti. Street style mi je donio mnogo toga lijepoga, iako je nekada bilo i teških trenutaka. 

Što se tiče izlazaka na ulicu i fotografisanja, sve zavisi od ostalih obaveza, vremenskih prilika, inspiracije, itd. 

CF: Da li si se okušala u još nekim sferama fotografisanja,ili je za sada samo akcenat na s.s. fotografijama? 

Dasha: Imala sam ,,izlete’’ u mnoge fotografske žanrove, od fotografisanja hrane do portretne fotografije, međutim street style je nešto čemu sam se najviše posvetila i u čemu najviše uživam.

CF: Da li ti pratiš trendove? Šta voliš da nosiš u ovim prohladnim jesenjim danima?

Dasha: Naravno, iako se trudim da ne slijedim slijepo trendove, nego da uvijek ostanem vjerna sebi i svemu dam svoj lični pečat. Ove jeseni obožavam kožne jakne, oversized džempere, džempere sa Navajo uzorkom, asimetrične džempere, crne hlače, a kao i svake sezone ,,slaba’’ sam na torbe.

CF: Postoje li magazini ili portali koji žele da objave tvoje fotografije? da li to naplaćuješ ili rado ustupiš svoje materijale, u cilju promocije svoga rada? Gdje su do sada objavljene tvoje fotke? 

Dasha: Jako sam zahvalna i srećna zbog interesa medija za moj rad. Imala sam priliku sarađivati sa velikim brojem portala, blogova, magazina… Počela sam sa objavljivanjem street style fotografija na portalu 2012. godine, a sada imam redovne street style kolumne za Wuwu Magazine, Pufnicu, Blois,, Mini Magazin, San Magazin i brojne druge. Što se tiče finansijske strane, nikada ne volim pričati o novcu. U street style-u ne cvjetaju ruže, ali se uvijek nađe način da sve strane budu zadovoljne i da imamo uspješnu saradnju.

CF: Misliš li da bi se dobro snašla i kao fotograf slavnih ličnosti, snimanja modnih editorijala, reklamnih kampanja i slično? Imaš li neke ambicije u vezi s tim?

Dasha: Dosad sam imala priliku da snimim nekoliko modnih editorijala za modne portale i drago mi je da su reakcije pozitivne. Ne znam šta donosi budućnost, ali ukoliko se pojavi interesantan prijedlog i ideja za saradnju, rado bih prihvatila izazov.

CF: Postoje li ljudi koje bi rado srela, te fotografisala na ulicama Banja Luke? 

Dasha: Radujem se susretu i poznanstvu sa svim pozitivnim i dobrim ljudima. Nikada nemam plan koga bih fotografisala. Sve je stvar trenutka. Voljela bih fotografisati stylish osobe, koje imaju svoje modno JA, koji su hrabri da budu ono šta jesu i koji se dobro osjećaju u svojoj koži. Iako ne bi bilo na odmet da na ulice Banjaluke zalutaju Miroslava Duma, Olivia Palermo, Rachel Bilson…

CF: Pratiš li Club fashionista, i šta ti se najviše sviđa na našem portalu?

Dasha: Redovno pratim i obožavam Club fashionistu. Fantastično je što imate dopisnike širom svijeta, što ste drugačiji i inovativni i što postavljate standarde kako bi trebao izgledati modni portal.

CF: Da li planiraš posjetiti još neke gradove (Sarajevo, npr.) te napraviti foto reportaže sa njihovih ulica? Koji grad smatraš idealnim za bavljenje street style fotografijom? Gdje bi uživala, gdje se to kriju najinteresatnije odjeveni ljudi? (po tvom mišljenju)  

Dasha: Volim posjetiti Sarajevo, ali sam nažalost zbog manjka slobodnog vremena napravila samo nekoliko sarajevskih street style fotki. Postoje ideje i pozivi za saradnju, ali još čekam da se neke kockice poslože. U Sarajevu zaista ima stylish ljudi i voljela bih to zabilježiti svojim fotoaparatom.

Imala sam priliku dva mjeseca raditi street style fotke iz Osla i zaista sam oduševljena odjevnim kombinacijama koje sam ,,uhvatila’’ i smatram da je Oslo izvanredan grad za bavljenje street style fotografijom. Pored Osla, na mojoj listi top gradova za život i rad street style fotografa su Copenhagen, New York, Stockholm i London. Međutim, meni je ipak najdraže živjeti i fotografisati u mom rodnom gradu.

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