Front Cover Shot and Big Interview With Predrag Vuckovic
At the age of 35, Predrag Vuckovic or Pedja, as people call him, has visited half of the world, has tried a lot of "reckless acts" which only extreme sports can offer and, most importantly, he has taken photos of all this. Although he has been into photography ever since 1990, he considers his "serious" or, more precisely, professional career in photography to start in 1999. Ever since he was very young, he tried to connect his two greatest pleasures – sports and photography. He went in for all kinds of extreme sports and he was always carrying his camera with him. As time went on, he became more and more interested in sports through photography, and his advantage over other photographers was that he knew all the tricks, which made taking unique images a lot easier. For instance, in order to reach certain destinations for photographing in the first place he needed a snowboard, motorcycle, bicycle… and he would often do some of these sports while taking images, which allowed him to follow an athlete and to take his photos from, for viewers, unbelievable angles.
Even today, he is most attracted to the situations when the conditions for photographing are not the most realistic ones, since he always wants to make the most out of every situation and to demonstrate his talent through extremely difficult photographing conditions. His motto is: to take a photo any time and anywhere, in any weather conditions (rain, snow, mountain, underwater…)
He learnt more about photography through the work of photographers abroad, mostly reading magazines, whereas he achieved his results alone through practice and relentless research in the field of photography.No matter what photos he was taking, he was always trying to make his photos unusual. The thing Pedja is particularly proud of is the title of "Red Bull Photofiles Photographer". Each of the photographers is specialized in a certain sport, and he is the only photographer who, apart from all extreme sports, does underwater photography as well. Nowdays, he is engaged only due to the quality of his photos, and a remarkably good cooperation with them explains in terms of “Red Bull” philosophy which supports unusual and atypical photographs, coupled with unique sportspeople who are different from everybody else. The connection between these sportspeople and Predrag Vuckovic as a photographer is a magic formula for a remarkable photograph.
His photos have been published in over a hundred magazines worldwide. He himself, being the founder and the editor of the X-FITNESS and X-SPORTS magazines, cooperates with more than forty magazines in the field of extreme and automobile and motorcycle sports. Out of domestic magazines, there are TopSpeed and TopOffRoad in which he works as an editor of photography. Probably drawn by the cooperation with these two magazines, he has been lately most interested in taking photos of automobiles in as an original way as possible. He likes to experiment with photography techniques, angles and generally unusual approach to the topic, which brings him excellent results in every new photography session. In general, cycling, motorcycling and water sports are his favourite sports for photographing. He is most attracted to the work on site, since it implies the connection between the sport and interesting landscape or exterior.
In order to get the right picture as to how demanding this job is, Predrag Vuckovic shared with us his experience from one of the most impressive photography sessions. It was "Base jump", the Russion guy Valery Rozov jumped at the Dolomites (Italy) from the rock 1.120m high. The climbing on the rock itself with the equipment weighing as much as 60kg lasted about three hours. The preparation for the session lasted one hour, while the session took only 30 seconds, which how much the jump itself lasted. Eventually, he made use of only 15% of the equipment, since he could not allow himself to be lacking something during the session. He is very cautious and he does not leave space for unforeseen situations. He often risks with his equipment, but, wisely, never with his own life. Although 80% of the sessions takes place abroad, he describes as the most difficult the “Base jump” photographing in Belgrade in 2007 (REFOTO published a few photographs from this event in the 45th issue, in the column “Practice in deed”). The sportsmen jumped from the top of a chimney on a heating station, and to it there are 574 stairs. With his photo-bag full of equipment, the climbing took one hour, since the stairs are very narrow and curvy, the chimney inside is completely dark and the reek from the dead birds spreads all around the place. Following the preparation which took a lot of time, the sportsmen jumped, and the session itself again lasted only a couple of dozens seconds, and Pedja had to get down the same way he went up. He had to repeat the whole expedition the following day!
RISK – PART OF LIFE
It is already clear to you that you have to be born with a higher adrenalin level and will of steel in order to do something like this. Sometimes the sessions are even illegal since, for a number of sports events, you need to have a license which you cannot always obtain, but it does not prevent either sportspeople or a photographer from putting their intention into action. Such sessions bring an additional dosage of adrenalin. On the other hand, Pedja has been lately finding his highest pleasure in underwater photography. There is no tension, everything is peaceful and blue and entirely different from what is taking place on its surface. Here he finds his peace and relaxation that he needs desparately after so much excitement and a number of obligations which represent a part of his very dynamic way of life. Every day, he questions the limits of the possible since his goal is to do the photo sessions that not everyone can do. He still wants to be part of Red Bull team because it allows him to achieve that. It is a well known fact that behind every successful man there is a successful woman, thus Pedja, with great love and respect, points out what his girlfriend’s support, who joined him on a number of sessions, as an assistant or merely as a follower where a lot of people (whether friends or assistants) would not event dare to go, means to him.