Suburban Witchcraft, December Skies of Belgrade

The white fog, the dirty smog, the perching asphalt, reminiscing skyscrapers and Danube and Sava, shivering in their ever-flowing love, will in a brief couple of hours, coated in darkness and luminescence of fireworks, become Belgrade’s entities, a year older.

I grew up, lived, died a bit and still live in the suburbs (in fact, all other countries I have ever lived in, I have also lived in the suburbs) and the often esoteric, unforgiving and heartwarming breathing canvases have made me a curious captor, hence why, this year, I have started a photography project which I titled “Suburban Witchcraft”.

What is so special about suburbs? I don’t know how to put my finger on it, and I am hoping the captured essences of nature and humans will manage to transcribe the magic, the happiness, the pain, instead of me. What I can tell you is that, for me, it never felt quite the same. Smoking a cigarette, crying, looking at the Moon, reaching the sky – curled up inside a wild pocket, and stuck to the pavement of a busy pedestrian street that feels like it is desperately trying to imitate a graveyard. Oh, there is beauty in that, undeniable beauty. But for me, suburbs always offered something different, perhaps a twisted perception of beauty that forever stays out of reach of the touch of a hand.

December Skies of Belgrade #3

December Skies of Belgrade #3

And the cities, I swear to you, they are alive. Whether by some ancient spell inscribed in the blood of the builders, or by swallowing the remnants of our own souls that we shed along our mundane journey, but they are alive. In the fleeting year of 2015, Belgrade is having one of the most peculiar winters I have witnessed. Deprived of snow and pearly white, untouched fields and slumbering picket fences, we had pyres, storms frozen in puffy slow-motion, softest beige, pink and lilac wrapping the antennae in a fast paced tango for many a sunset in a row. The skies were a cornucopia of color.



I can truly say that, after a long time, the skylines looked like hope, like need for action, compassion, love, dreams, hugs. Like a family seated at the table, telling the tales of their days over a plate of fried eggs. Like a need for communion with the atoms that live both inside and outside of us and we have not named yet. And what was even more special about it was watching other people feel it too. As soon as the Sun gives a setting wink, I would roll down and open up the windows, only to see people stop, gaze and be there, completely abandon their duties, tasks, anger, perhaps even sorrow (I would like to think that way). It felt warm to see devices, from newest to oldest technology, from expensive to cheap to matter we share, like eyes, mouth, heartstrings, all used to do that affirmative capture that says “I was there!” I am not going to lie, Belgrade is not the cleanest city, it is not the most polite city, sometimes, it is even downright cheap, sleazy, arrogant, wild, in-compassionate and stubborn. If you open the newspaper, the letters will stab your eyes with murder, theft, poverty, deceit, rubble, the dead – spelling out page after page. The television screens will flicker and desecrate, and the people will gobble up, because they are hungry, hungry for a change that is nowhere in sight. But then these December skies happen, and everything beautiful seems possible. You see these fiery winter sunsets in columns, captured from different angles and balconies. The series of these images of mine are far from original, but it is precisely what I would say makes them special.

December Skies of Belgrade #5

December Skies of Belgrade #5

Even though the skylines donned in these robes looked breathtaking, I cannot help but to wonder about the looming threat they also profess. Belgrade, and Serbia for that matter, are not the only places on the globe suffering from extreme climate changes. Perhaps, now more than ever, these captured images are similar to the exotic, colorful flowers and animals using the allure of beauty to catch themselves a meal, or telling the passer-by with their dots and screaming tones not to approach. Perhaps they are a flaming warning signal urging us to reconsider the way we go about developing our technologies, building our cities and living our lives.I am haunted by fear that going deeper, zooming in, will show me that we are nothing but countless dots of pollution unaware of their gluttonous devouring and endless need for consummation, constant need for more. It reminds me how we are often blinded by the short term sedation of the evolution of our ways, how we struggle to grow in ways that often bring us pain and do not provide us with the day where we stand being what we fought to become.

colorful disease

Colorful disease

At those moments, these snapped photographs remind me of woman and men who wear the mask of serenity and happiness, hiding a choking dark inside their chests, feeling powerless to turn the situation around. A world where suffering is the spice of every dish. Suddenly, the entire creation ensemble in a mere instant transforms into audience of the fetus of some kind of Apocalypse. Yet, I choose to focus on the beauty, because it is perhaps the one thing that can inspire us to be less consumers and more preservers, to bloom into beings whose every memory is not laced with factory dust and smoke.

The Flux

The Flux

Perhaps, there is nothing special about these photographs and this project, perhaps they are together an obscure core I try to simplify and translate, from my own mind onto pixel and into the observers thoughts, perhaps a meager attempt to tell you to look up, down, left, right and be there. Maybe the city, and the suburbs, I am growing in are nothing but minor plot holes in an otherwise turbulent and important stories, the photographs distantly abstract and possible to pinpoint to any location, not the one I reside in. Maybe, every future December will have skies just like this one had, or maybe, they will be even more breathtaking, alluring and puzzling. But what I surely know is that time is a cruel and merciless adversary and ally at the same time, I know that it chips away, and I do not wish to be that tired eye that never notices the patterns on the trunk of the willow, that used up iris that never thirsts for sunsets, that weary soul that does not wish to say “I was there!”





Storm of Fluff

Storm of Fluff

Still Fire

Still Fire

Suburban Witchcraft

Suburban Witchcraft

December Skies of Belgrade

December Skies of Belgrade

Surreal Sky-Beach

Surreal Sky-Beach



All the photographs shared here belong to my “Suburban Witchcraft” project, The Segment Motives of Air.  If you want to know more about the project itself, ask away! If you want to share your own photography projects, hails, shots, whatever – I am more than interested to see them!

And last, but not the least, may all and any have a wonderful New Year and Happiest of Holidays!

~ by Oloriel on December 31, 2015.

30 Responses to “Suburban Witchcraft, December Skies of Belgrade”

  1. And a very Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  2. Happy New Year. Those are amazing photographs and it’s gotten me thinking about suburbia. I’ve always lived in suburbs, so I have nothing to really compare to them. Personally, they strike me as a combination of big cities and rural areas. There’s greenery and open space, but the people aren’t as widespread as in the country. You get a sense of knowing more of your neighbors too, which is rare in the city. At least from what I’ve been told.

    • Sorry for the mega late reply, Charles, but for some reason WP decided to put your comment into spam :S
      I can see the comparison, and it is true. For example, in my suburbs, you will often see swimming pool houses, next to a shanty, Bugatti parked next to grazing goats and similar. The most humble, mixed with the most crooked (seeing I think in every country suburbs host the kindest people, but also the criminals). I am interested to know how your suburbs looks like. When it is about America, I always imagine it like in TV shows, particularly Dexter (I know, what a choice!), and the house he shared with Rita and the kids, or perhaps Wisteria Lane from Desperate housewives (although that one was obviously a rich neighborhood!). Are my impressions correct?

      • You’re the third person to tell me that, so I’m wondering how many other blogs I’m labeled as spam on.

        It varies from area to area. In Florida, I lived in the suburbs, which had a lot of stores and apartment complexes. There was a strange divide too. One half was slightly rundown with cheaper homes and the other was fenced off fancy homes. Meanwhile, the place I grew up and now live is more homogenized. Back before I was born, the houses were all of the same style, but people have renovated over the years. Probably close to the Desperate Housewives method, but not as rich. There’s always a park or playground nearby with the stores along the main roads and houses clumped around the side streets. It really depends on the terrain and weather of the area.

  3. Мрзим Београд, Србију…Планету Земљу, али ОБОЖАВАМ 🙂 ове уметничке фотографије пропраћене коментарима које само прави уметник може да испише, онај који види и осећа лепоту, ствара је у њеном одсуству, призива, алудира, евоцира, асоцира! Не сматрај ово ни комплиментима ни шлихтањем, то је истина коју ретко зборим јер нема много правих уметника.
    Моја објава са 2 фотографије начињене у Београду је заказана за 01.04.2016. (нема шале), жао ми је што сада не могу да ти их покажем, а жао ми је и што немам тако добар видик на сутон.

    • Mislim da Beograd, Srbija i svet koje toliko volim nazalost postoje samo u mojoj glavi kao imaginacija. Mislim da, iako su divne replike, ipak nisu ni priblizno istinite kao realnost. Ali mislim da je ta nacrtana lepota i slepa ljubav moj nacin da se borim sa time.
      A sto se tice pogleda na suton, opet nije do mene, nego do kamere koja cini mi se moze da zumira i u neciju dusu 😀
      Fotografije cu nadam se da vidim kada budu postavljene! 🙂
      Srecna ti Nova Godina!

      • Слажем се. 😉
        Феноменална је камера, ухватила је дивне нијансе!
        Срећна и теби Нова година! Очекујем још дивне поезије и фотографија! 🙂

  4. Lovely post. Have a wonderful New Year.

  5. divno! 🙂
    sve na(j)bolje u pristigloj godini!

  6. Loved your post .. have a great New Year Oloriel .. the sky’s the limit! 🙂

  7. I like this project a lot… there is so much you can learn by just observing.. living in a suburban world like eavesdropping lost conversations.. the sky tells us fragments of the truth, and maybe at the end we can have all the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle telling about a world gone wrong…

    • Oh, that puzzle, having it complete would be nice, because I think it would mean we passed the bad times, got to our senses and we live in a better world looking at it!

  8. “the often esoteric, unforgiving and heartwarming breathing canvases have made me a curious captor”

    I love that. And your photography is gorgeous.

    • Thank you very much, I am glad you enjoyed both the photos and my scribbles that go along! I didnt wanted another photography project where I am only to silently observe! 🙂

  9. Breathtaking photography and captivating words. Thank you, for sharing a piece of your soul with me. Xxx

  10. Beautiful photographs and text–I have to say–suburbs are probably my least favorite option–I regularly move between City and quite isolated country each week, but I have lived in suburbs and you manage to give them an appeal. I love the sky photographs–just beautiful. (I can never understand how people on flights can close their little shades.) Anyway, thanks. k.

    • I get what you mean about suburbs being your least favourite. They are, sort of, perhaps inexplicably, toxic. The rush from the busy city centers is there, and so is the green, the pastures, fences, houses and children playing outside. yet, my impression is that people are in a way shielded and suspicious of everything. Gated, so to say, thus creating that specific aura that I think suburbia has.
      I completely agree about the airplane windows! I never close them and I always want the window seat 🙂
      Thank you very much for paying me a visit and taking the time to leave some of your thoughts with me!

  11. A very fabulous post!

    • Thank you! I am looking forward to showing some graffiti photos too, since Suburbs has them plenty 🙂

      • How exciting!
        I look forward to that.
        If you have lots of pics, & feel like it, you can submit some to GLaM for a Guest Graf post. I make sure you get photo creds, links to your blog & to say what you want about the art. Also, a permanent link to your blog is set up on my side bar with one of your pics. I have 11 guest so far! I am trying to document Graf from around the globe. Hugs!

      • Will do! I am trying to compile the photos, and it is not always easy to take them. We have a wonderful graffiti artists whose stencils keep getting ripped, we have murals repainted in a milisecond, iconic taggers and even a competition! I love graffiti so much it’s really important to me to have photos of all of this 😀

      • I know how you feel! 😀
        If/when you submit pics, include the name of the artist, if you know it. They are becoming something like rock stars in the art world. ⭐

      • Thankfully, they usually leave a tag around their work at here, so should be no problem! 🙂

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