article added
Proceed to checkout



The photo book Europea, released last year by the Swedish publishing house Max Ström, covers a very personal, often melancholic road trip across the continent. With his Leica M6, the Swedish photographer has put together an intriguing view of how he sees Europe today, and what the European experiment is all about. We talked to him about this and other, newer projects.

LFI: Your book is like an anthem to a united Europe...
Joakim Kocjancic: Yes, I celebrate the cultural background that European countries share in common. It’s a personal work, in the sense that I have lived or visited friends or family, in all the cities I photographed. So Europea became like an extension of myself, a way of discovering new aspects, opening up, broadening my identity to encompass more layers. Europea is a poetic/humanistic essay, a tribute to people and to the unusual in the mundane.

Are you still as hopeful as you were a few years ago about the idea of a united Europe?
Yes! Things are changing so fast and the situation is complicated, but I hope that Europe can continue to be open and united. What I want to show with the images in my book is the tradition of European humanism, the incredible cultural legacy that Europe and we have behind us, with its great humane ideas. I hope that this tradition will get stronger, and that Europe is not only considered as a geographical and economical entity.

How are you experiencing the current pandemic-related restrictions?
At the moment, I have to admit that, considering the extra rules and restrictions, I’m not yet keen to travel. When I photograph, it’s important to me to be able to move freely, to get into my workflow, and to be inspired. It will be very interesting to see how I will feel when I do.

If you were to start your project from scratch today, where would you begin your journey?
Europea is a personal project. I went to these cities because life brought me there; I didn’t choose cities just to photograph. I’m always looking for a link to the place I photograph, as I’m not interested in pure travel photography. I haven’t been much to the east of Europe. I’m fascinated by cities like Warsaw, Bucharest, Budapest, Sofia and Belgrade. Another city that I would like to visit and to photograph is Athens; that could be the city where I would start my second Europea journey.

What wishes do you have for the future – with regards to Europe, but also personally for your work?
My wish is that Europe remain open and united, that we can continue to move freely between countries, working, studying, traveling, exchanging ideas. A guiding maxim for me comes from George Steiner: "The world of culture is of vital importance to the quality of human life." (from the introduction to his book: The Idea of Europe, Overlook Press, 2015). For my work, I wish for a great exhibition of Europea, to have more time to photograph, and to be able to print large prints in the darkroom.

What projects are you currently working on?
There a many. For example, there is a project in Bucharest: street photos, atmospheres, buildings, city views and street portraits, focusing on the young generation that was born after the fall of Ceaușescu. I’ve been there twice in 2019 and 2020, and I hope to go back there in September. I would also like to finish an ongoing, long-term project titled Mediterraneo, a very open and poetic project about the Mediterranean region. It’s about the feeling of it; quite noir and classic, a world suspended in time between dreams and reality. My aim is that all these projects will soon become books. Bookmaking is a very important part of my projects. For Europea it took two years to finish the PDF of the book. I met with La Strada Studio every month or two in a cafe, to look at the sequence again, at some new prints, or to discuss new ideas for the book. It was a slow process that was necessary to immerse ourselves in the project; also because of the large amount of prints and time involved.

You still work with a Leica M?
Yes, always with an M6, and some point-and-shoot cameras. I just love the cinematic quality of 35mm and of the Leica M6.

Thank you very much for your time. We are looking forward to your next projects!
(Interview: Ulrich Rüter)

An extensive portfolio is presented in the latest LFI issue 6/2021.
Milan, 2011
Jardim Botânico, Lisbon, 2015
Fuerteventura, 2011
Jardim Botânico, Lisbon, 2015
Via XX Settembre, Genova, 2005
Lisbon, 2015
Corso Venezia, Milan, 2009
Piazza San Marco, Venice, 2016
© Pierre Vincensini

Joakim Kocjancic

was born in Milan in 1975. After studying Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and Carrara, he got an MA in photojournalism in London, then lived and worked in a number of European cities. In 2006 he moved back to Stockholm, where he has been a member of the Swedish photo agency Linkimage since 2009. Following Paradise Stockholm (Journal, 2014), Europea is his second monograph, published in 2020 by Max Ström.

Share this page:
via mail Mail
on facebook