Inside The Lazarus Project
Photographs by Velibor Božović which were featured in IAA Artist in Residence Aleksandar Hemon's book The Lazarus Project.
VELIBOR BOŽOVIĆ BIO
Velibor Božović grew up in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. When he was in his twenties, the country of his youth became a war zone and he spent the duration of the siege of Sarajevo honing his survival skills. In 1999, Velibor moved to Montréal where he worked, for eight years, as an engineer in aerospace industry until he gave up his engineering career to devote the time fully to photography.
Velibor then went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree in Studio Arts at Concordia University. He is the recipient of the Roloff Beny Foundation Fellowship in Photography (2011), the Bourse de Maîtrise en Recherche from FRQSC - Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture Quebec (2012) and Concordia International Mobility Award (2014).
His work has been exhibited in the United States, Cuba, Canada, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. His photographs appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Descant, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Granta, BH Dani and others.
ABOUT THE LAZARUS PROJECT PHOTOGRAPHS
The photographs are the result of my collaboration with Aleksandar Hemon on The Lazarus Project (Riverhead, May 2008). Hemon's novel deals with the real-life death of Lazarus Averbuch, a young Jewish immigrant shot by the Chicago chief of police George Shippy in 1908. Almost 100 years later a writer and a photographer go back to where Lazarus came from, attempting to understand the places he left behind.
Aleksandar and I visited Poland, western Ukraine, Moldova, and ended our trip in Bosnia, where we both come from. I made about 1200 photographs, sometimes assuming the point of view of the fictional photographer. They are intimately and deeply connected with the book, but they also speak of something that is beyond its limits.
For what interests and attracts me is what is not in the photograph – the absence that the photograph signifies. If home is the place where somebody notices your absence, then the photographs are home for the worlds we have lost.