PHOTOGRAPHER WHO LIKES UNUSUAL PLACES - COVER PAGE AND ARTICLE / POLITIKA DAILY NEWSPAPER
I am always happy to share my lifestory with media from Serbia and this time one of our most published daily newspapers Politika, known for its good reputation, had published a story about my work. More and more readers each day are getting an opportunity to find out more details about world's unusual events that I work on including Extreme Canyoning, a discipline that is still new in our region.
Predrag Vuckovic from Belgrade always has loved extreme sports, in which he also took part, and now he photographs those unique sport scenes and spends about seven months a year traveling around the world.
This summer in August Predrag will be a part of the photo shooting project in Roswell, New Mexico. „So what?“, some will ask. Nothing - among other things, he will capture men’s step into space. The unbelievers with rich adventurous experience will now raise their eyebrows and maybe wait for further explanation. So without further ado, let us continue.
Austrian Felix Baumgartner is preparing himself for a jump in pressure suit from an altitude of 36 km and by doing it he will set 4 records: the highest baloon flight, the highest human jump ever, the longest freefall from the edge of the space which is supposed to last for about seven minutes, and braking the sound barrier during that freefall. „This is by far the biggest project of that kind“, says Vuckovic. Baumgartner is going up alone in the capsule and whole team of photographers and film makers will capture the event from the ground area, and the mission itself will be recorded by remote assisted cameras mounted on capsule. „I am one of four honoured photographers in this project that already lasts for 4 years now, and there are also whole NASA scinetists team involved“.
Ever since he was a kid from Dorcol, Belgrade neighbourhood, who loved extreme sports, Predrag followed his own dream that led him into photography captured in unusual environment. He probably never could have predicted that. Besides that he was the only one with a camera in his crew. „On every our gatherings I was the one that captured our moments with a camera, and much later in 2004 I became a professional photographer“ – reminds the contributor of world agencies which buy his sports pictures with remarkable scenes and beautiful locations and those things that ordinary photographers can’t provide.
„Since 2005 I am one of the few official photographers for Red Bull, a company which organises those unique events around the world, so I have the opportunity to be among those few people who are able to see such unique scenes. There wasn’t any inconvenience ever on my sets because I trained myself very well, and everything else is quite carefully planed and maximum secured“, explains Vuckovic.
Armed with cameras and equipment he and his crew spend seven and a half months last year out of Belgrade.
„There was 78 plane flights and 26 different countries, in some I even returned 2 or more times“ – Predrag calculates, and also mentions that it was the hardest part of his work.
Trips, hotels, airports... Predrag is terrified from it, he admits. During that period his girlfriend Jovana, a fitness instructor, is dedicated to her professional obligations and supports him in everything he does. Sometimes she even assists him on the shootings.
„Some other girl would already left or I would, because of lack of understanding“ - he smiles happily.
Let us get back to Predrag’s occupation. It was hard to decide which photographies to publish from million and one in his laptop and his website, but it was to expect from a person who cooperates with about fifty magazines and main world press agencies, and who has in his arms and legs the experience of the world’s most extreme events. Thats why he can say, among other things: „We’ve been climbing for two and a half hours, I carried 60 kilos of equipment on the rock that is high about 1120 meters in order to shoot less than one second... I was hanging on the rope. That’s how I took two or three pictures, and one of them was the right one that all agencies of the world published“ – when Predrag says it sounds so easy, some will think.
„Yes, but I practise extreme sports for a long time. I began riding a BMX, mountain bike, snowboard and later surfing, diving and mountain climbing. I participated in World and European Championships as a fifteen year old. So I know how athletes in extreme sports are thinking. When new kids arrived on the scene I dedicated myself more to diving and canyons, since one new discipline is rising and it is called Extreme Canyoning.
Diving is my favorite sport for past two decades. I am a diving instructor now and so many things are available to me underwater. I like to mix underwater and land photography which I call Between Two Worlds.
On the other hand I made many canyon pictures. I try to present that untouched nature on my photographies“ – says Predrag.
From the Caribbean and Red Sea he „took out“ many turtle, fish and unusual underwater world pictures. Many sharks came close to him and he wasn’t even in the safety cage.
He spend 35 days photoshooting on Antarctica in 2010, at the highest temperature of minus 16 degrees and the lowest minus 31. Predrag and his crew were sleeping in the tents in those conditions. The heating was just a thought of nouns. On Himalayas, on the altitude of 5650 meters and the highest road of the world he captured the „Formula 1“ car, just as planed. This year he is booked for the Red Bull Stratos project, also called jump from the edge of the space. But lets not go back to the beginning.
Hungarian, Austrian, American and Serbian all together
Predrag Vuckovic doesn’t take his three colleagues from Roswell as a competition. „They are a team, they work as one“ – he says. „We make a good shooting plan and work in harmony“ – Hungarian, Austrian, American and Serbian in New Mexico are shooting a man who will land, if everything goes well, from the edge of the space in seven minutes.
„I never compete with my colleagues, and all this I do mainly for myself. People I work with also feel the same and we try to provide all the pictures on a stack to our clients without splitting them. We are also friends off the work“ – he says.
Text by: R.Popović