Lola Paprocka | Blokovi: Novi Beograd
London-based photographer Lola Paprocka has just released her latest book, Blokovi: Novi Beograd, documenting New Belgrade in a way not yet seen by most. Published by her own publishing company Palm*Studios in a limited run, it is currently being sold at London’s Offprint Book Fair. Lola’s eye especially captures the honest moments ‘in-between’, documenting the locals and local scenes, with her own background playing a part in a strong understanding of the surrounding geography. The city’s architecture is captured in it’s most striking form, providing an accompanying palette of grey to the rest of New Belgrade’s landscape.
Working with a stellar extended network, Lola has managed to document the everyday in New Belgrade from an extremely honest viewpoint. A unique publication in itself, we speak to Lola more about Blokovi, her journey in New Belgrade and publishing in print vs publishing online.
Launching tonight, Blokovi: Novi Beograd is your latest published photo book, can you tell us more about it and why you made it?
My friend Mima approached me with the initial concept to try and capture New Belgrade’s estates where she grew up. Over the years I’ve also spent a lot of time shooting Polish estates (where I’m from) and a lot of the Brutalist architecture, so I guess this shared interest brought us together.
Despite living our adult life in the west, the two of us remained strongly connected to our childhood memories from the east. With a touch of nostalgia I tried to capture the atmosphere of living in the blocks as well as not focusing on any particular group of people. I would spend time walking around and asking anyone I found interesting if they’d let me take their portrait. Everyone was super friendly and happy to be photographed.
How do you put a book like this together?
It’s all self funded, so you take all the help you can get! I had all of the images hand printed first by Daren Caitlin in London, where we worked on the selection for a few weeks, visited various paper showrooms and once I’d chosen paper for the cover and inside of the book I went to Poland to have the book printed. There is an amazing printer based in Poznan called Mos and Luczak that specialises in photography and art books. This is Palm’s second publication. I personally don’t have any background in publishing or printing, just a personal passion and enthusiasm for the medium. I’ve also found it incredibly important to work with individuals and, importantly, a designer (if you aren’t one yourself) that shares your vision.
Who did you work with to complete the book?
I worked with my partner Pani Paul, also a photographer. He helped me during the whole process, especially with editing images and deciding upon the final set. Dagny and Daniel Szwed from moonmadnes.eu worked on the design supervision and Ljuba Slavkovic wrote the amazing accompanying text in both Serbian and English; about New Belgrade’s history. Blokovi’s concept and consulting is by my dear friend Mima Bulj. I also met a few people in Belgrade who took me to their homes and were kind enough to show me around; Jordan, Dule, Boris and Marko – absolute legends!
Where can we find Blokovi and will your exhibition travel to other cities to communicate your work?
Blokovi is available online through my publishing company, Palm* Studios, with a book launch and exhibition there later on this year. I would also love to go back to Belgrade and do a show there. In London, I just launched the book at 71A Gallery and I’ll also be taking part in Offprint London Art Book fair at Tate Modern on 20-22 of May and will have books there.
Why publish your work in print?
I only shoot film and I feel that it’s very important to see your work, especially photographic work, in print. All of my images are hand printed by Daren Catlin – who is an absolute genius – and who has shown me how much better photographs can appear when printed well. I’ve definitely learned a huge amount within the last year and think once you go through the whole practical process you’re able to think more clearly before even taking another picture. I guess the next natural progression was to make the book. It’s so difficult to know when the project is actually finished (is it ever?) but having a printed artefact gives you some form of working deadline. Which is also another important lesson I’ve learned.
Do certain photographs work better online than in print? Or do you think publishing photography is anyone’s game?
I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you shoot on film and medium format in particular. You get so much more from it than just scanning your negs. Some people like to have their work online only, as it’s a much quicker process and can be widely circulated, which I used to do in the past. But, I reckon once you start printing and publishing your work you get a better idea about what kind of photography you actually want to do and you’re able to take your time and focus – which is intrinsic to the photographic process.
BLOKOVI: NOVI BEOGRAD BY LOLA PAPROCKA
Photography and Curation | Lola Paprocka
Concept and Consulting | Mima Bulj
Design Supervision and DTP | Moonmadness
Original artwork hand printed | Daren Catlin in London
Published by Palm* Studios May 2016
First Edition 300 Copies
PREORDER COPY HERE