Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

My picture of president Janez Drnovšek for his love ones

with 14 comments

070124_4827_janez drnovsek by Borut Peterlin
Today there was a funeral of our former president Janez Drnovšek. Today I had a plan to do a reportage, but it was canceled, so I decided to go to presidents funeral. President Drnovšek was on highest political positions since 1989 and he was photographed numberless times, so it was a huge compliment for me, that presidents sister asked Mladina for my picture (above) that was framed beside a book of mourning and given to his daughter, son, sister and closest of his friends.

Funeral of president Janez DrnovᅤᄀekFuneral of president Janez Drnovᅤᄀek
You might say I’m pathetic and egocentric (I’ll not object ), but I find this as the biggest compliment to my photography. I mean picture is not signed and I didn’t receive a dime from it, but it makes me so proud!

If you didn’t do that sort of portraiture, you can’t imagine how hard it is. You accompany a journalist that is nervous if he/she could ask all the questions and get all the answers he/she needed, and photographer is just a necessary evil to make an evidence that interview happen properly. If that isn’t enough I had a PR person behind my back limiting my time to only five minutes in the beginning of the interview. So I made few pictures, nervous as hell, because I knew although it’s technically OK, it’s far from what I want to. So I put down my camera, pretending that I’m finished. Waiting, waiting, waiting for half of hour, until everybody has forgotten about me, then pick up the camera move to different position and make few more pictures, looking with a corner of the eye how PR person and president will react. The hardest is that you have to behave really calm, moving slowly although your heart is racing and you think all possible scenarios that could go wrong.

The hardest is on the end. Since journalist want to use every second of presidents time, he speak also during portraiture, so you need to get up and say OK, stop! And now the best part of the interview! Journalist please shut up and president Drnovšek, may I ask you to turn your head, step this way, look toward my camera, etc… This sort of power play in portraiture usually lasts about 20-40 seconds, so making a good picture is like throwing a ball in the final second of a basketball game.

I think that the biggest compliment for a photographer is when a picture become independent and lives it’s own life. When it becomes a symbol beyond the time when it was created, beyond the ego of photographer.

20080226_7615 pogreb drnovsek panorama


Written by Borut Peterlin

27 February, 2008 at 00:44

14 Responses

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  1. Mislim, da je ta fotografija posneta z občutkom in spoštovanjem do predsednika.

    Ni samo eden izmed tisočih njegovih portretov. Saj se je na njemu zelo poznalo slabo zdravje in fotografije tega niso prikrile. Ta pa je povdarila njegovo dostojanstvo in moč kot človeka.

    Srečno predsednik, kjerkoli že si!


    27 February, 2008 at 13:13

  2. There is nothing egocentric in your pride. You have all the rights to be proud of your achievements. The problem is, that mr. president wanted a quiet funeral in family circle only. But several hundreds of people including you and other journalists did not respect his last wish!?! This is egocentric.

    Best wishes,


    27 February, 2008 at 13:28

  3. You are wrong.
    He had a peaceful funeral. With agreement of his family journalists and photographers observed (document) the funeral only outside the walls of the graveyard. Funeral was peaceful with a lot of sun and some wind breeze.
    his wish was respected.

    Borut Peterlin

    27 February, 2008 at 13:36

  4. S to fotografijo si pa res ujel lep trenutek. Se mi zdi tako zadovoljen, ima skoraj otroško igriv nasmešek…

    Bil je res velik človek in njegove miselnosti še nekaj časa ne bomo ujeli… S spoštovanjem


    27 February, 2008 at 14:24

  5. Vsa čast njemu, naj počiva v miru.

    Tebi pa čestitke za ta dosežek. Tudi meni bi pomenil več kot ogromno.



    27 February, 2008 at 19:03

  6. Good picture and glad the family asked for it. However I can’t agree that he is a magnificent man as people portray it. Slovenia is worse because of him. It should and would be in a better position then it is now. I can’t imagine why young people would not see it.

    Not to mention whole cult of personality build up after his death reminding me of 1980 when Tito died.


    27 February, 2008 at 19:45

  7. Dear Iztok,

    each and everyone of us has an opportunity to be better man than president Janez Drnovšek and each and everyone of us should take that opportunity!



    28 February, 2008 at 07:15

  8. I agree. Just about anyone who cares for economical freedoms in Slovenia does better job at being one.


    29 February, 2008 at 02:28

  9. Then move back to Slovenia and make a change that could compare to his contribution of the change in economical freedoms from 1989 Slovenia in Yugoslavia / communism to 2007 Slovenia in EU / democracy.

    As Lado Bizovičar once said, “Opinions are like asses. Everyone has one just we believe only others suck!”

    Acts counts.


    29 February, 2008 at 08:58

  10. What change in economical freedoms are you talking about? Slovenia is well behind in that terms. I wouldn’t be able to afford supporting my family in Slovenia where I would be taxed at 60%

    You are right, acts count. I will give you an example of Slovenia. I’ve asked to adopt a child (older one that otherwise wouldn’t be adopted) from Slovenia (and I know that there are in foster care). I was given a runaround and unreasonable requirements (they wouldn’t even start the paperwork remotely, they requested me to show up in person even for a first talk to anyone on procedure to start adoption. So now I am finishing adoption elsewhere.

    Slovenia is falling behind. Cost of living is high compared to average income (much higher then in US for example).

    As far as moving back is concerned. I can’t afford to. It is too expensive to live in Slovenia and being able to support 4 people (paying mortgage, car payment, renting a place for a kid in college, etc.). I simply couldn’t be able to support my family as there is no jobs like this in Slovenia (plus Slovenia is too small for what I do). (For example, I racked up 110000 miles last year on one air carrier alone for my work travel.)


    29 February, 2008 at 16:02

  11. Sure Slovenia is bloody expensive, especially if you live just from Slovenian revenue.

    Nevertheless if you want to get a picture of the progress the Slovenia made with Janez Drnovšek as Prime Minister & president, then you should compare your chances being able to support 4 people (paying mortgage, car payment, renting a place for a kid in college, etc. if you would live in Serbia for instance.

    Can you imagine Slovenia if we would had war criminals like Tuđman or Milošević on power instead of Drnovšek?

    You traveled over 1 million miles in one year! I have a nickname for you – Mr. CO2
    ha, ha,…

    No offense,

    Borut Peterlin

    29 February, 2008 at 16:21

  12. Just one example. Ljubljana was 82nd in 2004 on Mercer cost of living rankings (can’t blame current government for this one!). Cost of living was higher then in cities like Atlanta, Seattle, St. Louis, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Winston-Salem …

    This is TRUE legacy of Janez Drnovsek.

    I will give you personal example. I bought a new house in 2001 (has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1 car garage, AC, 200m2 heated area, patio, living area with 4m ceilings, kitchen was fully furnished with stove, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, bathrooms were finished with bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilets, mirrors …) in a city that is much larger then Ljubljana. Metro area has 1.5mil people. Has a major airport about 11km away from my home, close to two major highways, close proximity of grocery shops, restaurants, big shopping mall, many other malls in the city as well). Price was around 75k Euro. Bank financed it at 99% on 30 year mortgage. Since then I am down to 16 years to pay it off. On my own without help of parents (either mine or my wife’s). Something it would be impossible to do in Slovenia. At the same time I am getting superior health care service for my whole family that I wouldn’t get in Slovenia.


    29 February, 2008 at 16:44

  13. No I racked little over 110k miles (about tenth of what you’ve mentioned). Granted some of them are bonus miles but I did fly enough to get me platinum status for 2009.


    29 February, 2008 at 16:49

  14. Bravo Borut! Super fotka! Lahko si ponosen.


    1 March, 2008 at 22:00

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