The combination of devastation caused by war and natural disaster has left Croatia’s landscapes full of abandoned beauty. The countries recent fight for independence from Yugoslavia which happened in the early 1990’s has left many towns and villages ruined and abandoned with no means of repair. It was also wounded by a devastating earthquake in 1962, causing citizens to flee their homes on the mountain sides towards the coast, where they could begin to rebuild settlements.
Noticing the vast amount of abandonment and rural dereliction located throughout the countryside I found it extremely interesting to pursue this with my camera. The importance of religion is clear when exploring even the most unpopulated areas. Churches, statues and monuments are scattered aplenty around the mountainaneous terrain.
In Markarska - the rural coastal area where I was situated, I naturally captured glimpses of derelict beauty in photograph as it’s echoed all over the landscape. Houses were left empty as they fell when the earthquake hit, emptying their contents in the surrounding area leaving a strange sense of eeriness behind. I was particularly attracted to these aspects of Croatia’s past and how undocumented these places seemed to be. The combination of rocky mountains and crystal clean coasts were ideal for me to capture as they were right beside one another, resulting in plenty of opportunities to photograph the contrast of nature. The places featured in the series are from Markarska, Dubrovnik and the island of Hvar within Croatia.
Words and imagery by Joe Petini