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Dejan Mijović
Dejan Mijović
Dejan Mijović

Dejan Mijović

Country: Slovenia
Birth: 1976

Slovenian freelance photography journalist Dejan Mijović, born on 18 September 1976 and based in Ljubljana, is assistant photo editor of the Delo.si web portal.

Mijović has been involved in photography for the past 20 years, ever since undertaking studies of graphic technology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering.

In 2010, Mijović sustained an injury and was left completely paralysed from the neck down. Through amazing luck, strong willpower and lengthy rehabilitation, and driven by his as yet unfulfilled desire to pursue photography, the tetraplegic was back in the saddle, and has since held several one-man shows and participated in a number of group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad. Recently, he has been polishing his photography skills with Klavdij Sluban, a French photographer of Slovenian descent based in Paris.

Developing his photographic idiom, Mijović first focused on the wide landscapes of the Caribbean and South America, the poetic Tuscany, the magical Lake Cerknica, and explored hidden gems in his immediate vicinity and further afield.

Mijović's great flair for composition and light contrasts renders his portraits of random individuals far more than simply frozen moments in time but, rather, perceptive accounts of his life stories.

His black-and-white photographs, a preoccupation of recent years, aim to capture diverse moods of his closest family and long-standing friends also in their most intimate moments.

All photos in this project were taken after the injury.

About 9 years 9 months
"The greatest desire of most couples around the world is to start a family. Unfortunately, this is a big problem in developed countries today, as every sixth couple suffers from infertility. These data also apply to Slovenia.

Our story began ten years ago when I became quadriplegic after falling on a slippery ramp which led to the sea and was overgrown with algae. After spinal surgery and a six-month recovery in the Rehabilitation Center Soča, I returned home on crutches. A good year after the accident, my wife and I began to think intensely about starting a family. Due to my medical condition (spastic quadriplegia, also known as spastic tetraplegia), we had to seek medical help. We decided for the infertility clinic in Postojna.

This is where our nine-year odyssey began, full of ups and downs, joy, tears, mental distress, depression but most of all, getting to know each other and learning about life. Our relationship was put to the test for the entire period, but we realised time and time again that each painful experience created an even stronger bond between us and we were even more determined to succeed sooner or later.

In Postojna, the first three attempts with IVF, better known as in vitro fertilization, were unsuccessful. This was a very painful experience for both of us. Naturally for women this is much more traumatic as all the processes take place in their body. Men can only support them, but in reality we do not experience the whole process as intensely as women do. In one phase, the procedure is also physically extremely painful for women (puncture of follicles or removal of eggs from the ovaries).

After the doctor performs the artificial insemination (he usually inserts a five-day-old embryo into the uterus which developed in the laboratory under the watchful eye of an embryologist), a long fourteen-day wait begins before a pregnancy test can be done. When the moment of truth comes and you see a minus instead of a much desired plus, your heart breaks. It seems like a piece of you dies with every negative pregnancy test.

The bad news was followed by a depressing break of several months, during which we decided to try our luck at an infertility clinic in Maribor. Each clinic has its own methods. They are basically the same, with minor differences. Despite eight embryo transfers, all attempts were unsuccessful here as well.

We were especially crushed after the first pregnancy which unfortunately ended in miscarriage in the initial phase. When, after years of unsuccessful attempts, you finally see the desired plus on a pregnancy test, you instantly forget about all previous painful experiences. All of a sudden you are overwhelmed by positive energy and you come to life again, both emotionally and physically. But as the saying goes, life is not a box of chocolates. Suddenly, the joy was over and a time of great sorrow and crocodile tears came instead.

Such events cut into your heart forever. Despite the pain, we did not give up and we tried to move on. In order to forget the past events, full of distress and failures, but also because a symbolic wedding had already been quietly planned all along, we decided to get married unofficially in Thailand. After a few more relaxed months, it was time for action again.

But what could we do after having used all the six free procedures (multiple transfers are possible in each procedure, depending on the amount of embryos) provided by our healthcare system? We had no choice but to find an infertility clinic abroad on our own which is, among other things, also a big financial burden. However, which clinic to choose and where? A shorter period of research followed. In the Czech Republic alone, which is a very interesting and quite affordable destination for Slovenian couples, there are about 40 such clinics. We decided for an infertility clinic in Brno. After two more unsuccessful attempts and eight extremely exhausting years, my wife gave up. She simply could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We started thinking about adoption more and more intensely. However, this procedure also required a lot of energy and research. Above all, the social work center first had to obtain a certificate proving that we were a suitable candidates for adoption. At the same time we had to obtain a psychological assessment from a psychologist.

It took more than ten hearings at the social work center and a visit from a social worker at our home to obtain the certificate. We also found out during the procedure that in most countries where adoptions take place, applicants are required to be officially together for at least ten years before they apply for adoption. In addition, they must be officially married. We therefore had to get married officially, this time in Slovenia.

With all the papers we obtained and with the help of our acquaintances, a possibility arose to adopt a child in one of the African countries. We were the tenth on the waiting list. It would have taken at least a year before we could adopt a child. However, since we still had some frozen embryos in Brno, we decided to try our luck in Brno for the last time while waiting for the adopted child. We thought that we would only be able to get the desired child through adoption and that we would soon become parents in any case.

Finally, the wheel of fortune was on our side. After nine long years our biggest wish came true. My dear wife got pregnant and despite a risky pregnancy and a long nine-month wait, our son was born and we named him Lev (Lion in English). He was born healthy in mid-March, during the coronavirus pandemic. We can proudly say that we are the happiest parents in the world.

We wish to share the story with others to encourage all the couples who are facing a similar situation as we did last 9 years."
-- Dejan Mijović
 

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Adolphe Braun
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1812 | † 1877
Jean Adolphe Braun was a French photographer, best known for his floral still lifes, Parisian street scenes, and grand Alpine landscapes. One of the most influential French photographers of the 19th century, Braun used contemporary innovations in photographic reproduction to market his photographs worldwide. In his later years, he used photographic techniques to reproduce famous works of art, which helped advance the field of art history. Braun was born in Besançon in 1812, the eldest child of Samuel Braun (1785–1877), a police officer, and Marie Antoinette Regard (born 1795). When he was about 10, his family relocated to Mulhouse, a textile manufacturing center in the Alsace region along the Franco-German border. He showed promise as a draftsman, and was sent to Paris in 1828 to study decorative design. In 1834, he married Louis Marie Danet, who he had three children with: Marie, Henri, and Louise. That same year, Adolphe, alongside his brother Charles, opened the first of several unsuccessful design partnerships. After several unsuccessful design ventures in the 1830s, Adolphe Braun published a successful collection of floral designs in 1842. Upon the premature death of his wife 1843, Braun sold his Paris studio and moved back to Mulhouse, where he became chief designer in the studio of Dollfus-Ausset, which provided patterns for textiles. He remarried to Pauline Melanie Petronille Baumann (1816–1885) on 12 December 1843 and had two more children with her; son Paul Gaston and daughter Marguerite. In 1847, he opened his own studio in Dornach, a suburb of Mulhouse. In the early 1850s, Braun began photographing flowers to aid in the design of new floral patterns. Making use of the recently developed collodion process, which allowed for print reproduction of the glass plates, he published over 300 of his photographs in an album, Fleurs photographiées, in 1855. These photographs caught the attention of the Paris art community, and Braun produced a second set for display at the Paris Universal Exposition that same year. In 1857, Adolphe Braun formed a photography company, Braun et Cie, and with the help of his sons, Henri and Gaston, and several employees, set about taking photographs of the Alsatian countryside. These were published in 1859 in L’Alsace photographiée, and several were displayed at the 1859 Salon. By the 1860s, the Braun et Cie studio was operating in a factory-like manner, producing all of its own materials except paper. The studio created thousands of stereoscopic images of the Alpine regions of France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Braun also produced a number of large-format panoramic images of the Alpine countryside, using the pantoscopic camera developed by English inventors John Johnson and John Harrison. Photography historian Naomi Rosenblum described Braun's work as representative of the relationship between art and commercialism in the mid-19th century. His self-sustaining Mulhouse studio helped elevate photography from a craft to a full-scale business enterprise, producing thousands of unique images which were reproduced and marketed throughout Europe and North America. Rosenblum also suggests that Braun's detailed reproductions of works of art in European museums brought these works to art students in North America, providing a major catalyst for the field of art history in the United States. Braun's early photographs were primarily of flowers, originally taken to complement his work as a pattern designer. Subsequent photographs focused on Alpine landscapes, especially lake scenes, and glacier scenes. Unlike many landscape photographers during this period, Braun liked to include people in his scenes. Photography historian Helmut Gernsheim suggested that Braun was one of the most skillful photographers of his era in rendering composition. While not known as a portraitist, he did take portraits of several notable individuals, including Pope Pius IX, Franz Liszt, and the Countess of Castiglione, mistress of Napoleon III. Braun's work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, the George Eastman House, and the Musée d'Orsay. His photographs of Parisian street scenes and Alpine landscapes are frequently reproduced in works on the history of photography.Source: Wikipedia Trained as a fabric designer, Adolphe Braun began his photography career in 1853. His photographs of flowers, for a catalog titled Fleurs photographiées, were to be transferred onto printing blocks for wallpaper and fabric designs. It was an extremely successful project for Braun; one album of the photographs was presented to Empress Eugénie of France, and it earned him a medal at the 1855 Paris Exposition Universelle. By the early 1860s, Braun's focus had shifted to the making of topographical views of scenes throughout Europe and, beginning in 1866, to reproductions of works of art. The reproduction of paintings, drawings, lithographs, engravings, and sculpture was an important endeavor in France, and photography provided an accurate record. Braun opened a photography studio that became one of the world's largest publishers of such images. In 1869 Braun's was one of only two photographic firms invited to photograph the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum
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