The good ol’ Washington Post has announced the results of its 2012 Travel Photo Contest, and I’m very excited to report that one of my photographs was a finalist. After receiving nearly 1,400 entries, the Post selected four winners and 11 finalists—one of which was taken by yours truly. Be sure to check out the complete slideshow here.
Anyway, to the photo! In July and August of 2011, my friend Katherine and I took an incredible trip to Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. While spending the weekend in Mostar, a beautiful old city in the Herzegovina region, we were lucky enough to stumble upon the beginning of the annual diving competition held at Mostar’s Old Bridge, or Stari Most. Built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, the Old Bridge was the centerpiece of Mostar for 427 years, connecting two halves of a city that eventually became home to Muslims, Croats, and Serbs alike. Thus, as the Bosnian War raged in the 1990s and Mostar’s people found themselves on opposing sides, the city suffered some of the most intense warfare and destruction in the region.
One of the most prominent casualties of the war was the Old Bridge itself, destroyed by Bosnian Croat forces in 1993. But in an inspiring display of how the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina have persevered since the 1990s, the bridge was rebuilt in 2004, and the diving competition—held since 1968—continues today.
So this photograph—of the lighting of flares to celebrate the beginning of the diving competition—was a small attempt to capture some of the incredible spirit we witnessed in Mostar. Katherine and I just happened to be having a drink on the banks of the Neretva River as this scene unfolded. But that night, and that weekend, ended up being the very best a long weekender can hope for: A chance to meet wonderful people, experience a thrilling crash course in local traditions, and attempt to understand a tumultuous regional history.
Anyway, thanks Washington Post. I appreciate ya.