Meet the People of Zagreb

Meet the People of Zagreb: Ivan Klindić, Photographer and the Face of Zagreb

By 20 March 2017

If the phrase "Face of the City" rings a bell, you probably read about the site and saw some great photos in our Little Prince Mural feature here, or Get to Know the Face of Zagreb here. Let's meet Ivan, the photographer responsible for this amazing project.

1. Hi, Ivan! Can you tell us a little something about yourself?
Hi! I’m Ivan Klindić and I live and work in Zagreb. In my spare time, which I seriously lack, I like to spend time with my friends, do sports (I love running) and catch moments on the streets of Zagreb with my camera. Some might say that that’s not free time, but for me it’s a way to escape daily obligations and a way to create new content for my websites (ivanklindic.info, licegrada.hr).

2. How did you get into photography?
As with most things in life, it was by accident. It all started when my parents gave me my first camera as a present in 8th grade. My love for photography grew over time – at first I started doing sport photography and I’m currently into photojournalism, which allows me to do what I think is the most important element of photography – telling a story.

Ivan (2)

3. Do you like living in Zagreb? What are some of the good and some of the bad sides of living here?
I absolutely love living in Zagreb, especially in the neighbourhood of Ravnice, where I’ve spent all my life. There are numerous good sides, but one of the great things about living in Zagreb is that there are neighbourhoods like Ravnice, or Maksimir in general, which have great transport connections to the city, but you’re still surrounded by nature, you breathe in fresh air and hear the birds chirp.
Bad sides? I’d say the writings all over the facades around the city, especially offensive ones, they really deface the architecture. This dichotomy of wonderful murals that revive the urban culture and these writings that turn buildings ugly is very interesting.

4. Favourite place in the city?
That’s a tough one... Well, I like calm places, so I’d say Maksimir Park is a place that I visit very often. My neighbourhood is separated from Maksimir by Maksimirska Street, so I often wander around the park, sometimes while running, other times when I have free time and I want to escape my screen or my job. Another place I love is Medvednica, which I think is a true gem for all Zagreb County inhabitants.

5. Favourite café and restaurant and why?
Most of my friends live in my neighbourhood, so I’m a fan of neighbourhood cafés. I love the fact that we only talk about the time when we arrange to meet, the place is implied. One of the locations is Vivas Bar at Ravnice. I’m normally not a fan of these fancy places, but this café has that neighbourhood spirit that I like and I know everyone there so I always want to go back. The atmosphere of the place is the most important element.
I don’t really visit restaurants that much, so I don’t have a favourite.

6. Some people complain that Zagreb is losing its spirit, what do you think? What’s your opinion on the changes that Zagreb’s been going through for the past couple of years?
I can see why people would say that, but we should all keep in mind that the city is also a living being that changes its personality over time. New generations are born and they simply don’t have anything to do with the culture and the way of life from 30 or 40 years ago, so you can’t really wake up a culture that they’ve never experienced in them.
I understand that people who’ve gone through those periods seem hurt in a way, but people and times change and you can’t expect today’s generation to live in the same way that generations of their parents or grandparents had lived. The spirit of Zagreb will always be there, but you have to be realistic and know that the spirit will go through changes as well. As long as the people respect the city they live in, I believe that the good spirit of the city will never disappear.

Lice

7. Best place to go out?
Zagreb is an amazing place where everyone can find an ideal place to go out to. When I go out to the centre, I like going to cafés that are off the beaten track and not the “it” places. One of the cafés at the end of Tkalčićeva or Radićeva Streets, for example, because I’m not really a fan of Flower Square or Bogovićeva. My favourite are the summer terraces when you can drink outside and enjoy the nice weather.

8. Do you think that there are some hidden places around the city that tourists miss?
Sure there are, but the city’s starting to take some action. One of the positive examples is Grič Tunnel, opened last year. People love stories, and Grič Tunnel has an amazing story that will make tourists even more curious about its history. It’s on the City and Zagreb Tourist Board to offer less “shiny” locations that would spark tourists’ and locals’ interest. Since the opening of the Tunnel, I’ve had this idea in my mind that I really think has potential: why not turn the Tunnel into a photo exhibition space? Old photos could show old Zagreb and people interacting with them could act as a time machine and take them back to the tunnel’s original function.
Another location worthy of mention is the alleyway between Bakačeva and Cesarčeva Streets, and Brestovac Sanatorium, hiding a great love story. Just a little investment, time and a couple ideas could turn Zagreb into a hit destination among tourists.

9. How about people from Zagreb, do you think that there are some places that they ignore and don’t pay attention to?
I’m sure there are, because most of us have a daily route – home-work/school-home, and the free time that we do have is mostly spent in neighbourhood cafés or staying at home. Every time I hike to Medvednica, for example, I wonder why I don’t do it more often because the mountain is one of the five reasons that make Zagreb an ideal place to live. When it’s sunny, Medvednica is an ideal spot to run away from your daily life and grey concrete, with amazing soul-healing powers. It’s definitely a place that people from Zagreb don’t visit as much as they should.

Lice 2

10. Tell us something about your website, Lice Grada (the Face of the City) – how did you get the idea of starting it, are you satisfied with its progress and people’s reactions?
I got the idea back in 2013 when I decided to set up a Facebook page. I had many photos of Zagreb so I decided to upload them to a single page. One option was sharing them on my private page, ivanklindic.info, but I really wanted to post them under a different name. The reactions were pretty good, but I somehow stopped and then reactived it again in 2016.
I set up a real website, licegrada.hr, started being active on Twitter and Instagram (which is the best platform for photos, so I didn’t need to think about that one too much). The website was officially set upon August 1, 2016, and the first six months have exceeded all my expectations. The numbers keep growing, both on the website and on social networks, I cooperated with journal.hr and I got two collaborators: Vedran Danko (history expert) and Ivana Granić (student who’s moved to Zagreb to study and who writes about what her impressions of Zagreb in her column Nove Zagrebulje).
This is a really wonderful story and hopefully just the beginning.

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