It is my pleasure that Travel Magazine once more published my picture on the cover page, this time with Felix Baumgartner. Inside the magazine the readers can enjoy interesting story about my photo projects on various amazing travel locations around the world for the past couple of years.
Predrag Vuckovic known to our readers from the past… You met him through photographs and texts describing the unique events that he photographed. This time, after the Felix Baumgartner’s fantastic jump from space that was accompanied by Predrag’s camera, we talked to him about the thoughts that he had after numerous travels around the world…
We would like to start this interview, so that it could be easier to our readers to understand, by you telling us which are, in your opinion, ten the most special locations that you visited and photographed or events that you worked on.
It is very difficult to choose the locations and events that are my favorite, because each in its own way, carrying a challenge, a new experience, and of course, new knowledge in the field of photography. Every photo shooting that I do is a unique story that should be told in a specific way that only a photographer and his eyes could see it. The final result of photo shooting depends a lot on the location and many of those places carry their own special story that I always try to present in the right way through the photos.
1. A special place that left a huge trace on my travels and photo career is, of course, Kamchatka and the BASE jump project, in which a Russian base jumper Valery Rozov, for the first time ever, took flight over active volcano and landed in one of them. Beautiful environment, wildlife, volcanoes and real still unspoiled nature make this place really special and unique.
2. The photo shooting and the expedition that lasted 35 days in Antarctica have changed my way of thinking about life. Spending such a long period in such a cold and distant place just shows how much we are weak and powerless in comparison with nature. Temperatures of -30°C and daylight that lasts 24 hours are sipping the last atoms of strength during any activity. That expedition consisted of eight people from six different countries, with special skills of climbing, cope and survive in such harsh conditions. After seven days, already, we climbed one of the highest rocks of Antarctica – Ulvetanna and from its peak of 2931 meters the first wingsuit jump was made, again with a fearless Russian climber and BASE jumper Valery Rozov. When you return to civilization from such place, you start to appreciate life and the little things a lot more!
3. The project that I worked on with one of the best freestyle motocross drivers, also is one of those special ones. Robbie Madison for the first time ever made a jump 94 meters long, with a height of 102 meters, and in this case, via the famous Corinth Canal in Greece. When you look at a man on a motorcycle flying, you can not remain indifferent, whether standing on the side or looking through the camera lens.
4. Have you ever imagined that you can drive a Formula 1 off the track? If so, then the next question is: have you thought about the formula at the top of the Himalayas and on the highest road in the world – Kardung La, at a height of 5.650 meters? After great preparations and all the unforeseen situations that caught us in India, this project will forever be inscribed at the top of my list of photo shootings as something special, unusual and unique. Himalayan environment itself causes great awe and again we return to what I mentioned before, and that is the knowledge about how nature can be strange, peculiar and dangerous if ignored.
5. India generally is one of the countries that require a lot of time to explore and understand. My numerous engagements in several cities across India belong to trips to remember. People, the environment and the local way of life can not leave you indifferent no matter where you come from and what are your perceptions of the real world. Projects in this densely populated country were mainly related to some of the best athletes in the world, and so the work and communication with them in such an environment is also a challenge and a new experience.
6. When it comes to underwater photography, Cayman Islands certainly are among the top destinations for all underwater activities. Beautiful island of Grand Cayman in the heart of the Caribbean Sea is usually related to offshore bank accounts, but its underwater environment can be classified in the same category of the important features of this island. Amazing underwater visibility creates an unrealistic picture of this unique marine life. When the transparency of water is that great, it simply presents a paradise for any underwater photographer. Diving with sharks and photographing them creates adrenalin that make this work hardly easy to compare with anything, and at the same time it is difficult to describe and convey to people who have not had a chance to experience something similar.
7. In one of the most dangerous countries in which I worked certainly I include Pakistan, and the city of Karachi. Discomfort we felt there is related to anything going on in this country regarding the war and terrorist activities. As in many places on the planet, most of the people living in Pakistan can not change or influence what is happening in their homeland. Also, when you come from a European city where normal things are in common, then you understand what “normal” is missing there. Hospitality and kindness are certainly specifically positive in Pakistan and should be experienced. Our Red Bull project that we were doing there definitely is one of those who are remembered – BASE jump from the tallest building in Pakistan.
8. Philippines belong to exotic destinations to experience and understand, also in a special way. Manila, turbulent city, has its own particular charms and challenges for any photographer and the beautiful islands of Puerto Princessa are the nicest in the Philippines. Photographing the “Pacific Ring of Fire” is certainly a unique experience, and the Philippines are far more beautiful in live than in stories. Archipelago to the east of the planet, which consists of 7107 islands, is a location that everyone should visit at least once in their life.
9. When someone mentions the Maldives, surely the first thing you think about are the turquoise blue water and white coral sand. Even when all that is connected with blue sky, sunshine and some exotic island from the movies, you realize what it really means “Paradise on Earth”. Projects that have been implemented in the Maldives were generally associated with such an environment. Surfing, kite surfing and diving are just a part of this country. Living underwater world is unique in the world and different from any other underwater locations. Ambiance above water creates a sense of everything that makes life beautiful.
10. Jump from the edge of Space officially represents the real history. New Mexico and the city of Roswell are usual locations for this kind of project, but participation in it creates a feeling that you are the part of something that is for most of us still untouchable. This I would certainly singled in the top ten “most sites”, but not because of the place, but because of the pleasure that this mission provided!
Our daily life takes place in three dimensions, but often we are not aware of this fact and usually we think about it through watching a movie in those three dimensions so popular today … Rarely we have the opportunity to approach differently to some destination, except on foot or by any means of transport, usually buses. Your happiness is that you could look at the Earth from multiple perspectives – under water, out of the canyon, from the volcano, the highest peaks and from the air on high-altitude … How do you see our planet after all these experiences?
As I said before, after all my travels the only conclusion is how strong and unpredictable nature really is. After visiting many of the largest cities in the world, I realized that I still continue to prefer natural, intact and hardly reachable places. I’m tired of the real tourist locations, crowds flooded to create a fuss about tourist attractions. Pristine canyons, mountains, lakes, seas and all the locations that you need special skills for to make you come there definitely are the greatest challenges among all my travels.
Your last engagement due to the attractiveness of the project itself has attracted wide attention. I wonder how the Felix’s jump influenced on you, on your thoughts about life on our planet, the people on it?
Thanks to the “Red Bull Stratos” project I have gained a unique experience that will definitely change my attitude about some ordinary daily activities. Just knowing where from that man jumped will change the thinking about many, so far impossible projects. I am sure that after this many things we thought were impossible will become possible, and for me it will all be only an additional motivation for all that I will come across in front of me. The best explanation of the different views of our planet and the people on it Felix Baumgartner gave when he stood on the edge of the capsule just before the jump: “Now I realize just how small we are!”
I think everyone should always remember this sentence and use it more often through a life journey.
On the ladder of life’s priorities, which place would set travels, in fact how huge importance they have on a person’s life?
I think the answer to this question, we all already know very well. Can we live without traveling? I think not! Every journey has a special challenge in many different forms. Is it just the holidays, exotic location that we all dream about, meeting new people and customs or something unique and special that we wanted to see and experience… All this will encourage us to travel. Travels are the good things that people are talking about and which are remembered, and photos that we are looking after a few years create a feeling that urges us to dare again to an adventure, even only in our thoughts.
As a man with a unique experience, as a man who is constantly seeking new discoveries and challenges, as the man who captures his spirit, please send to our readers a message, in the context of the times in which we live…
Based on my experiences, what I like to say in one breath is: “Use all the challenges that travels provide, explore and find something unique and specific that will make you not just a regular tourist”.