Art

Skate and Shoot with Dario Dunaj

When Dario started his venture into photography he was just some kid with an IPhone; skating through the backstreets of Zagreb, Croatia; exploring abandoned factories, slaughterhouses and schools. Dario now tries to document these spaces with a DSLR; empty yet full of stories, abandoned yet frequented by these urban explorers such as his self.

Interview by Drew Bateman - Icarus@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Dario Dunjab
Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Citizen Brooklyn:  How did the idea for Urbex come about?
I’ve had a passion for exploring abandoned buildings for a long time. It all started some 7-8 years ago in an abandoned hotel on the island of Pag. Besides the huge abandoned space inside, there was also a skate park built by local skateboarders. I spent more time in the hotel than in the water during that vacation!

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: What about these spaces interests you?
I am fascinated by the fact that those buildings were bursting with life
At some point in the past, and now there’s only silence and desolation
The way that nature comes in and takes over the architecture is wonderful to me.

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: Have you ever been caught in one of these abandoned buildings?
I haven’t had any unpleasant situations, but some places are protected by
Securities services and are inaccessible. Some places can be quite spooky for exploring; in those situations your senses are very sharpened. And that is something you cannot experience every day!

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: How do you know what buildings to go to?
In the world of urban explorers there are some rules that I follow.
If a building is accessible only by being damaged or if I might disturb someone, then I won’t explore it. Every object that I find is always left to its original place, I never take it with me. I’ve been finding all sorts of things though, from old clothes, letters and cutlery to newspapers twice my age.
For some buildings, you just know they are abandoned, broken windows and graffiti are always a good sign.

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: Do you Skateboard?
Skateboarding was a big part of my life, it’s influenced pretty much everything I do today, people, lifestyle, photography. All of that somehow developed from skateboarding. But I don’t spend that much time skateboarding anymore, the love is still the same but the will is not.
Most of my crew is gone; life drew a different path between all of us. Another reason is the bad skate scene in Croatia.

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: Are most of the people in your photos your friends?
Mostly friends and acquaintances.

CBK: What is it about graffiti that interests you?
For me graffiti is a powerful way of expression and a part of every urban complex. There’s much more behind graffiti than vandalism.

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: You started off taking only IPhone photos. Do you still use your IPhone? How do you know when to use the IPhone and when to use the DSLR?
I still use my iPhone, but rarely. DSLR is a first choice for me now, but I’m not forgetting everything I learned about photography through the iPhone.
I stand to the saying: “The best camera is the one you always carry with you”.

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: Is this a hobby or do you wish to make a living out of it?
It’s a hobby at this point, but I’m working on making it something much more.

CBK: Any photographers you particularly admire?
Magnum’s photographers and their work is an endless inspiration to me. Also a photographer Joshua Zucker caught my eye recently. His Tumblr is a must to look at!

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: What draws your eye?
Ideas come on their own; I just take a camera and go exploring!
The best photos are often hidden in the backyards of old buildings, Zagreb streets and roofs. Every street, every wall, every roof view tells its own story.

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: What’s your favorite part of Zagreb to shoot?
Zagreb is a very interesting and mysterious city if you know where to look.
If there’s a one place I should mark off, then that’s an “old slaughterhouse.” It sound scary, but it’s my favorite. Just picture a vast abandoned space full of street art and graffiti.

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

CBK: What makes Croatia so gorgeous for photography?
Croatia is beautiful and ideal for all kinds of photography, gorgeous nature and interesting history are just one of many great subjects. I try to present the parts of the city that don’t usually draw much attention to themselves, things we walk by that just go unnoticed.

 

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

 

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Photo © Dario Dunjab

Follow Dario Dunjab on Tumblr.

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