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Terminal Spirit Desease – World Press Photo / Robert Bosch foundation, Exhibition + Book

The metal music culture is traditionally associated with black clothing, leather, studs and spikes. Today, however, this is too narrow and image for a culture which has become diverse and varied.

Metal fans in balkan don’t adopt a specific look or even all listen to the same bands. The days when metalheads were lumped together as long- haired, dim-witted, delinquent drinkers or drug users are long gone. What stands out is their individuality

The black and death metal community follows two narrow but related subgenres of metal. I’ve tried to convey and interpret the lifestyle of these fans and the close bond they feel to the music. Black and death metal are an acquired taste, but these subgenres have won wide acceptance around the world. There’s nothing Balkan about their roots, but they have had a strong influence on musicians in the region.

Metalheads don’t share a lifestyle away from concerts and because of this it was sometimes a challenge to meet people in the subculture. I also needed to abandon some of my preconceived images of them.

With these portraits I wanted to show metal fans in their natural habitat; metalhead concert venues and hangouts in Croatia, Albania Macedonia and Kosovo.

What I’ve tried to do is mirror the spirit of these black and death metal fans, and, especially, their individuality. It’s something that very few photographers have attempted, so this is a kind of voice for them, a little nocturnal poetry.

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