Milan Marković/Serbia

FIAP HM in section Street for photography “Return from church”


ZORAN KOLARIĆ – EFIAP wrote about photography:

Milan Marković ‘Return from the Church’

Evolution of photographic documentary


A photo is always a moment stolen from time. A good photography is one that transcends that moment. When it transcends the moment of creation of a photograph, when it transcends its time, its location, when it transcends its tradition and culture and becomes timeless and outside the space in which it was taken.

When photography goes beyond that moment and documentary (which is a value in itself) goes beyond the technical side of photography in terms of visual readability and becomes more than that, it becomes a layered story, which can all be read in many more dimensions. The story goes global. The way it is recorded in its recognition can be read in any geographical and cultural place.

Knowing how to drive a car is not only an end in itself, but the purpose of the car is to get from point a to point b. So mastering photographic techniques, framing and composition in photography is also not only an end in itself (which is often the case with novice photographers), but a way in which we will tell a visual story that will reach others. The author of this photo has been extremely successful in this. And that’s what distinguishes the master of photography from other photographers. The master will never strive to conquer us with his photographic knowledge. On the contrary, with his visual story in the medium of photography in which knowledge is only an unobtrusive and subtle tool by which he reaches a strong and impressive goal that will conquer the eye of the observer and not the other way around.

Milan Markovic’s photo ‘Return from the Church’ was taken in a Serbian village where three old women are returning from the church during one of the traditional and religious festivities, which is suggested by the twigs they carry in their hands and the ceremonial dressing and the very name of the photo. Already a documentary photograph in itself, this photograph is powerful and valuable in its description of a moment, a custom, a locality, and a community that is torn from oblivion through photography.

But when an author with his photographic skills is not only a witness of time, he is not only an author who records certain life moments (which in itself is a great and praiseworthy job), but with it surpasses the local and the current, and gives the motif layering and reading on several levels and only a merely recorded moment in time then we speak of artistic photography. Some visual images (pictures, graphics, illustrations, photographs…) are engraved in the world’s memory and have become references, such as the illustration that describes the evolution of man from a hunched over to an upright being, which has been used in countless variants on more than one occasion… And a first look to this photo reminds us of exactly this reference.

Although we are reversible in our human development, bowed we are born, at the highest point of our personal development we are upright but again bending down we grow old and die. This photo emphasizes man’s mortality and that we are not of this world, that is, we are limited in this world.
That is why the recorded old women understand this and hence their connection with beyond this with the spirituality shaped through their religious tradition.

Human life is a path and a journey. As a process and as a goal. That’s what this photo tells us in its universal story.

One of the great details of this photo is the view of the old women towards the path that connects with their path, but we do not see where it begins and does not end. In photography, it is always magical when we sense, when we invite the observer to imagine and travel with thoughts and towards what is sketchy in the photo.

The path that connects with theirs, on which they look back… The path that draws us as an observer with composition towards the participants of the plot…. The path we take not only visually, but meditatively… The path that leads us to identify with the content of the photo

The way we travel is also important. This photo also tells us about the value of social connection on life’s journey. The strong social message of this photo is that we are dependent on those who are at the top of the pyramid, those who nobly lead us and do not rule us. Those who are leaders and not rulers, who are at the forefront, who defend us like an old woman at the head who, although able to ride a bicycle, she came down from it so that the more powerless or in this case the old women who follow her could follow in her steps.
Nobility is to descend to the level of those who follow us, to realize that the life cycle is pyramidal, that it is not eternal and subject to changes of which we will sooner or later become a part in altered roles.

Wit is a common and important feature of street photography and photography in general. How much in his encroachment can a photographer enter into human intimacy while maintaining the dignity and dignity of the one he captures?

Wit as is the case with this photo must be noble. Humor reaches us the most when it is not an end in itself, but in its relaxation opens us to much deeper aspirations and ideas.

The details are the ones that make the difference from average to great. The photo I’m writing about is distinguished by a multitude of details and that’s something else that makes it special. Not only by the details themselves, but also by the fact that these details are not singled out, but all together form a whole.

So another of the details is the inscription ‘Turist’ on the bike. We are just current travelers on our life’s journey through this world.

Photographic playfulness of numbers… Three is always a magical photographic number, as in this case in which we have three old women, old women leaning on the third leg in the shape of a stick.

By beautifully separating women in black from the white path and wall as wallpaper, the author uses all the power of black and white photography and emphasizes the story with the composition as a tool.

In the end, the photography does not lack Bresson’s decisive moment in which the author masterfully captures the moment when the subjects of the plot are in a perfect compositional arrangement relative to space and when dynamics and movement are determined by raised legs above the ground.

To conclude, although this photo speaks of the transience of photographs like this are always imperishable. The power of a well-told story goes beyond the motif, inspiration, and past references, and a photography like this itself becomes an inspiration and reference for some future photographs over time.


Milan told us a few words about himself:











I was born in Valjevo (Serbia) in 1960.

I work as a professional photographer at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments “Valjevo”. Since 1979, I have exhibited at more than 1,000 collective photography exhibitions in Serbia and around the world, winning more than 400 awards and recognitions. I also had 29 solo exhibitions.

In the Photo Association of Serbia I have the highest artistic title Master of Photography FSS and in the international photography organization FIAP I have the title EFIAP.

Nine times I was the most successful author in the Photo Association of Serbia. Several times, my photos were in the collections of the Photo Association of Serbia at FIAP biennials.

I was a member of the jury and a selector at several photo exhibitions in Serbia and international exhibitions. I organized many photo exhibitions, club, inter-club and international, as well as several independent exhibitions, screenings and lectures by renowned Serbian and foreign authors.

From 1999, for four years I edited and published the newsletter, first of the Photo Association of Yugoslavia and then of the Photo Workshop “Art-Natura-Art” from Belgrade. My photos have been published in many professional books, magazines, catalogs, brochures and are in the archives of many institutions and private collections.

I am represented in “Almanac of Serbian Photography” and “Anthology of Photography in Vojvodina”. Member of the “Valjevo” photo club.


In the gallery below you can see more of Milan’s photos: