Behind the Scenes: Waiting to Move

Ciril Jazbec

February 23, 2021

Climate change has a hold on Ciril Jazbec and it will not let go. Since the beginning of his career, he has been documenting the threatening consequences of global warming in various mountain ranges and ice regions around the world.
His reportage, Waiting to Move, capturing the lives of the Inuit on Sarichef Island in the Chukchi Sea, earned Jazbec the 2013 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award. He has taken photographs in the Slovenian Alps – his homeland –, in Greenland, in Bhutan and, most recently, in the Himalayas. The latter can been seen in LFI 02/2021, where his impressive images capture the artificial ice structures, known as ice stupas, created for irrigation purposes. In this interview, he speaks about his approach and his aesthetic premises.

LFI: What is the biggest challenge for you when taking photos?
Ciril Jazbec: The biggest challenge happens before I start taking photos. Finding the right story and the approach that is suitable for the theme. When it comes to the production in the field it is, of course, challenging at times, but I always believe that something will come out at the end of the field work. I have been involved professionally in photography for over 15 years now, and in that kind of time you come to learn the craft.

Considering your experiences and the routine, what comes next?
The challenge for me now is how to keep going and adding more value to my projects. I have begun to work on long term stories involving documentary video and photography, so I can expand and reach more audiences by combining different mediums.

How do you find your narratives?
I’ve been working on stories around the impact of climate change and environmental themes all throughout my photographic career. I also work at times on stories with more focus on globalisation or cultural aspects. I always do research and I’m curious about certain regions or ideas. It’s important to be connected with the right communities and to always have one eye open for the right information.

How has the pandemic changed your work?
Covid-19 forced me to look and find stories closer to home. Since I’m living in the Eastern Alps, it’s natural that my next ambitious project involves the changing Alps. I find it’s great if you can afford a research trip and discover or verify certain ideas on the ground. That has always helped me to find most of my stories that were published, for example, in National Geographic Magazine.

Please describe in general your visual approach to the topics you photograph.
I am a documentary photographer focusing on long-term projects. I like to work on projects with a strategic approach to portraiture, landscapes and interviews, using natural light and at times adding some artificial light. In that way, I am able to build a visually powerful project. It is a combination of documentary with an artistic, fine arts layer.

Find out more about Jazbec’s work in the upcoming LFI 02/2021.
Carla Susanne Erdmann
EQUIPMENT: Leica M10 with Elmarit-M 24/2.8 Asph, Summilux-M 35/1.4 Asph, and Summilux-M 50/1.4 Asph

Ciril Jazbec+-

Ciril Jazbec_portrait
© Ciril Jazbec

Born in Slovenia in 1987, Jazbec first studied Management in Ljubljana, followed by Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, graduating with an MA in 2011. He won the 2013 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award for his Waiting to Move series, portraying a village in Alaska impacted by climate change. The same year, he received at award at Les Rencontres d'Arles for his photo story, On Thin Ice, with which he also won Magnum’s 30 under 30 competition in 2015. He has received numerous further award since then. His work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times, Geo Deutschland and Neue Zürcher Zeitung, among others. He is also a co-founder of TENT Film. More


Behind the Scenes: Waiting to Move

Ciril Jazbec