Urban Bug Magazine front page and interview “Art and Extreme” with extreme photographer Predrag Vuckovic.
The life of Predrag Vuckovic resembles a high-bugdet Hollywood action film. Travelling across the most attractive locations worldwide, fighting against natural wonders and the actions which would even leave the agent 007 himself breathless. All this is just part of his everyday life. Pedja is one of the best photographers for extreme sports and for Urban Bugg he reveals the secrets of this more than just an attractive vocation.
Ever since I got to know myself, I have had two passions – extreme sports and photography – Mr Vuckovic starts his story for Urban Bug kindly, although our telephone call interrupted one of his photo sessions at Kopaonik. It all started with BMX freestyle ride where I even managed to reach the World Championship (the seventh place). Also, I am one of three men who brought the first snowboards to former Yugoslavia. I dealt with, and I am still dealing with many other extreme sport disciplines and, accordingly, I have been travelling a lot, always with my camera with me. As I was in the centre of events, I had a chance to take exclusive photos that many people subsequently wanted to publish. I made contracts and started taking photography more and more seriosly, so that it eventually became my vocation.
The fact that Pedja today cooperates with over 40 world magazines suggests to what degree he has converted his two passions into top professionalism, while Nikon Pro Magazine, the publication devoted to the best professional world photographers, published a six-page article about his work. However, Mr Vuckovic is most proud of his engagement in Red Bull who follow and take pictures of all famous sports events which the Austrian energy drink producer organizes worldwide. What is Novak Djovokovic and Vlade Divac in tennis and basketball respectively, that is the hero of our story in his field of work.
The fact that I was myself into the majority of extreme sports allows me to know exactly how and where I should place myself in order to take the real photo. I know the tricks and I know the very soul of many extreme sports, therefore I can capture them beautifully. Also, my special quality is that I can follow the whole action on the move, thus, for instance, when we are photographing a snowboard ride, I can snowboard parallelly with the competitors and take photographs – says Pedja without false modesty.
Along with photography, Mr Vuckovic is also successful in other fields of, naturally, sports. He is famous among all fitness fans as the owner of one of the best gyms in Belgrade – Extreme Gym. Likewise, he is the founder of two magazines, X-Fitness and X-Sports. Still, it is all in the shadow of professional photography and his work with Red Bull which made his current postitions possible:
The whole story began quite by accident. The first shots published for Red Bull were taken for private purposes, and then they also took them over. If our readers remember, in 2006 there were floods in Belgrade which a few of us used to make an incredible action. In Bulevar Vojvode Misica Street (near the fair), on the flooded area, we drove around the street on wakeboards a couple of times. People could not believe what was going on, we attached the wakeboards to the Red Bull jeep and thus overtook the buses. We made a few circles until the cops arrived. The shot of this event went round the world, it was broadcast on CNN, BBC… and my photos were published in many magazines and newspapers. Red Bull also took them for their own needs, and then they offered me the cooperation we have to the present day. Following that, a new business, but also private, friendship emerged for me. In the meantime, I spent two months in Austria, in the small town Fuschl, in their photography agency “Red Bull Photofiles” where I refined and improved my knowledge of photography.
With the goal to promote its product, the Austrian giant organizes and sponsors a number of sports events worldwide. Depending on the host country of a certain event, photographers are also invited to take photos of it. Predrag Vuckovic hopes to photograph over 30 such events.
I am particularly proud of being the only one in Red Bull who is into underwater photography. When I was into extreme sports, I was always trying to invent some new tricks, thus now I am trying to develop my own photography style and my photos to be entirely original. I try to take photos from, thus far, totally unusual angles in order to bring the feeling of the sportsmen themselves to someone who, later on, observes my photogaphs. I, also, develop a style of taking photos from more than one camera placed on different locations which I control with remote controls, so that I get a huge number of different shots of a jump which takes only a couple of seconds – explains Mr Vuckovic. Adrenalin-junky or just “ a man who lives his life to the full”? That is the question Pedja asks himself every day.
Most peple think that extreme sports are an insanity, but those people who are into them don’t think so. They are all trained professionals who know who each of the moves needs to be made in order to be safe. Therefore, I can never give an answer as to which of these sports is the most dangerous because, for instance, base jumps are not performed by parachutists with five, six jumps, but with 5.000 or 6.000. Is there a dose of adrenalin? Of course there is, but sometimes the competing moves themselves boost more adrenalin with spectators then with sportsmen, since the tricks are for them something quite ordinary – concludes Predrag Vuckovic.
Text by: Milos Sakan