Its all wrapping up. My final is now on the render queue. I’m making this blog post now as our final is rendering and being finalized. Its a trip. For the last month and a half I have gone to 9 countries and will be going to 3 more after the program ends. Before this trip I had never even been outside the continent of North America. Once I go home I will have been to 15 countries.
I’m really going to miss Kosovo and Pristina. I have had so much fun here and I love all the people that I met while I was here. I really feel that I may never see some of these people again and that is kind of sad, but I still have social media so I can contact all these people whenever I want. I wish I could stay longer but I have too many project going on back home. I really need to find some time too come back.
Meredith and I met to discuss my final project after I chose to stay focused in on Semra. During this meeting, both of us were thinking outside of the box (maybe too far outside) about future projects. Meredith knows that I am interested in working with NGOs and non-profits and that I enjoy projects with community involvement and empowerment. We started brainstorming about ways to do this kind of work in Kosovo with the girls I’ve met at the Ideas Partnership. Although I’m not sure what, if anything, will happen with this, I am excited about the possibilities.
Its all ending soon. Its currently 3:10 am as I am writing this entry and it is right before the last day of class. I have most of my documentary done and ready to go for the 5pm deadline today. I only have one paper left to write for my State building class, and I only need to have a draft done of the book for the documentary class.
I really wish I had more time. It comes with taking summer classes that everything goes by quickly, but I feel like I needed more time to see everything I wanted to see in Pristina. I still need to make some time to go see the Bill Clinton statue and gets some gifts for my family. The next two day are going to be packed and I hope I can get everything I wanted to get done out of the way.
Today we spent the evening working through the first steps of creating the class book. This process went much better than I expected, and we actually managed to get a lot done. We started by working on the layout today and the group went through each of the projects and people tended to agree to the image sequences. This made the process much more streamlined and fun to be part of. We managed to get through all of the 13 projects before we all went braindead. We did end up buying two 60mm pizzas for only 6 people.
Earlier this week, I decided to go back and try and spend more time with both of the subjects. I wanted to try and expand on more than just their work lives. I wanted to try and show elements of their family and friendships. When I went to their shops to ask them about this, I got almost the exact same answer “when I get out of work, I have worked for so long that I just go home and relax.” This was really frustrating for me because I feel like a lot of what I try and say gets lost in translation.
During this entire trip, the class has had to share two translators. Sharing is fine but it limits how much we can do and when we can do it. I wish that the RIT photography program required students to learn at least one other language. So many photography students travel and having these skills would dramatically increase their ability to work abroad.
So yesterday I went back to the subject’s business with a translator and I started talking with him some more. I found out that he has a brother who is also a cobbler!
Today I went back to Sefa’s business and we had a full interview and it was very informative. After that I went and introduced myself to Sefa’s brother Naser and he also agreed to work with me. I took photos at both of their businesses and I attempted to get a good variance of photos. The shops were very small and the work is vary detailed so it was hard to not make similar images.
This week we are working on our final projects. I started off trying to meet a woman that worked with people with physical disabilities. We started talking and decided to try and meet for coffee. I showed up at this restaurant that she wanted to meet at but she never showed up. I think she started to get cold feet about the idea and she also had a small child. I decided I needed to try and find a new subject and do it quickly.
My professor recommended that I go and meet a man that repairs shoes. I went to his shop with a friend and attempted to talk with him. Sefa decided to agree to let me photograph him but he seemed very hesitant.
Prishtina is the capital and largest city of Kosovo. It is the administrative center of the homonymous municipality and district. The city has a majority Albanian population, alongside other smaller communities. I was born in Prishtina and spend almost all of my life here. I love this city and there is a saying”You can take me out of Prishtina, but you cant take Prishtina out of me”.
Here are two pictures from my room day-night view which is in the center of the city.
This entire experience, but especially working on my final project, can only be described as a roller coaster. Things with my final have gone from super exciting to emotionally draining to hopeful to uncertain and all the way back again. There have been days that I’ve started out thinking I would have to change my topic that have ended in me smiling ear to ear planning the next day’s work. There have also been days where things have finally started to come together that end in me stressing out about what direction to go in.
At this point, my story is going to focus on Semra and her sisters. Semra is a girl from a Bosnian family living in Fushe Kosova. She and one of her sisters, Elsa, participate in the Girls’ Club program at the Ideas Partnership, in addition to attending public school. Her youngest sister, Xhevahire, is going to start school this year so Semra and Elsa are helping her prepare. I found this relationship to be really interesting and after speaking with Meredith, decided to focus the story on that.
Today I finished the audio visual slideshow and I am more proud of it than I expected. Usually projects like this intimidate me more than I like to admit and I don’t produce as good of work as I want. I decided to stick with what I thought seemed to flow the best and I think it works well. We have critique coming up soon and I think everyone will like the final product.