Self-portrait in the middle of nowhere / eastern europe. I found this statue five years earlier online in a blog and tried to locate it for years.  In 2017 I managed to track it down, the stars aligned and I managed a visit. When I arrived I noticed that it was triple the size that I expected it to be. The drop that seemed to be 3meters was now 9 meters at the highest point. The run in was a 20cm thin track with no room for error. A heavy storm was pushing me towards the drop as well. I was questioning if I should give this a try. In a long time, I was actually afraid. But then I saw a small gap in the clouds coming towards me, the sun pushing through. I knew this was my only chance to get the photo I dreamed about for so long. Once the Gap had arrived I had 2 Minutes to shoot my photo before the light was gone. I gave it three tries, before the light vanished and only the storm remained. This one is the best shot. printed in my 16-page interview in Mountainbikerider magazine 12/17
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Self-portrait in the middle of nowhere / eastern europe. I found this statue five years earlier online in a blog and tried to locate it for years. In 2017 I managed to track it down, the stars aligned and I managed a visit. When I arrived I noticed that it was triple the size that I expected it to be. The drop that seemed to be 3meters was now 9 meters at the highest point. The run in was a 20cm thin track with no room for error. A heavy storm was pushing me towards the drop as well. I was questioning if I should give this a try. In a long time, I was actually afraid. But then I saw a small gap in the clouds coming towards me, the sun pushing through. I knew this was my only chance to get the photo I dreamed about for so long. Once the Gap had arrived I had 2 Minutes to shoot my photo before the light was gone. I gave it three tries, before the light vanished and only the storm remained. This one is the best shot. printed in my 16-page interview in Mountainbikerider magazine 12/17

35 Comments

  • + 21
 This one is amazing in every way. Composition, riding, scenery and that's until I realized it is self shot!

Small (or big) niggle here is that this is a monument dedicated to concentration camp victims in the Jasenovac camp in Croatia. It is built in 1966 yet unfortunately poorly maintained. So yeah it is a bit sensitive. In fact war monuments in former Yugoslavia are often downright art pieces yet unfortunately poorly maintained. I'm not going to judge here. I wouldn't be too stoked if any trials rider would hop the Holocaust monument in Berlin. The monuments in former Yugoslavia are more positive. Of course to remember but also to celebrate freedom and look forwards to a brighter future. So maybe it would be different here and you are truly celebrating freedom Smile . Either way it is good to be aware of what you're riding there.
  • + 6
 in my younger days I used to drop off the monument to the lives lost in the sinking of the ferry "Estonia", as every other freerider in Tallinn did back in the days. One day the police stopped me for a chat after landing and said it was "not quite right". For a while I felt genuinely ashamed, but now I think, these kind of monuments are not actually meant to be tombstones, they are a reminder for all of us of the horrors and misfortunate events, but there is nothing wrong with using them to celebrate life. No insult intended to anyone here, just IMO
  • + 9
 I am higly aware of the history of those Monuments so I handled it with the utmost care and respect. For me, those Yugoslavian Monuments have a completly different Intention, compared to something like the Holocaust Monument in Berlin. They were Monuments to unite all yugoslavian People under one comon idea. The fight against fasicm. I also think, my intentions are quite clear in the way I photographed the Memorial. I reduced myself to a tiny dot, more like a size reference. The Focus being 100% on the Monument itself.

I also shot those Images when I was traveling former yugoslavia working on a Story about the remnants of war. A small part of the work can be seen here.

issuu.com/erikhoelperl/docs/es_lebe_der_frieden___bersicht
  • + 5
 @Airik: This is a really well done photo. Even right down to the artful intent of highlighting the monument. Much respect is due to you and much respect paid in the way you’ve handled it. As an American our culture is sooooooo closed minded and “Ameri-centric” we’re not even made aware of the struggles that other cultures have gone through, let alone what types of monuments they may have erected in honor of those struggles. Many props to you sir. Thanks for the photo and the awareness.
  • + 1
 @Airik: To me it is clear you're aware of what the monument is about and the way you catch air in that picture appears like a true celebration of freedom. I happened to attend a pitch a few months ago of a photography student who pictured these spomenik monuments and made a book. To somehow preserve them as they aren't actively being maintained. In a way you're doing the same. Floating in air along the lines of the monument, truly free.

This summer I actually happen to be in Croatia. I may have to visit a couple of these too!
  • + 3
 @fattyheadshok: Yeah, in North America we really have to go out of our way to learn anything about that whole region of the world...I've still only heard about a few historical things and haven't read deeper yet....but holy shit, some of the stuff....damn near makes Hitler look like a Choir Boy.
  • + 3
 @yxbix: We have a trail that runs along WW1 battlefield and we've actually built a drop off one of the caves that served as bomb shelter. When I posted picture here years ago somebody commented if that is not disrespectful but I really don't see it that way. I'm 100% sure that every soldier who fought here would be delighted to see that their artifacts of war can actually bring joy even a century latter!
  • + 1
 @loopie: Just know many brave North Americans have given their lives to sort this mess we got ourselves into back then. And chances are quite a few didn't even know what it was all about either!
  • + 4
 Hey man! I keep seeing your selfies everywhere! They are fantastic! Are you able to shed some light on how you time your shots?! I have been dabbling with this stuff, and it's tough trying to time shots, even with a remote, when you're Doug something difficult.
  • + 3
 thanks, nothing fancy, just an intervalometer to trigger a short burst of shots. gives you a three-second window. Which can be pretty tricky to hit. New cameras probably do a better job, I have an old 5d MarkII
  • + 1
 @Airik: Yeah man! I know why you mean. I'm shooting on the original 5d, and the multi shot thing is so delayed that it's easier trying to time the single.
  • + 4
 @watchmefly: the original 5d ? thats a suffer fest. hahaha
  • + 1
 @Airik: The display isn't even good enough to confirm that you got the shot. Might as well be film.
  • + 2
 @watchmefly: thats how I started as well. whatever works.
  • + 4
 When you're Doug everything's difficult.
  • - 1
 @watchmefly: The 5DMK2 which he's using is a pretty dcent camera?? I owned one for 3 yrs and never had any issues with the display? Granted it isn't a sport camera but it was still capable
  • + 1
 he is referring to his own first generation Canon 5d.
  • + 3
 This is the only photo here that ever shocked me. It's hard to believe that location and monument of such representation would ever be related to mountain biking.... There are few more monumental structures like this in 50km radius that would probably also act as an amazing background.
  • + 3
 I am higly aware of the history of those Monuments so I handled it with the utmost care and respect. I also think, my intentions are quite clear in the way I photographed the Memorial. I reduced myself to a tiny dot, more like a size reference. The Focus being 100% on the Monument itself.

I also shot those Images when I was traveling former yugoslavia working on a Story about the remnants of war. A small part of the work can be seen here.

issuu.com/erikhoelperl/docs/es_lebe_der_frieden___bersicht
  • + 2
 If you decide to visit once more and have not been here i would recommend this one as well especially cause you can actually enter the structure.

3.bp.blogspot.com/-Yr6ETIAQf48/TsvOXRZ8aUI/AAAAAAAABNQ/usyyrMX2k8Q/w1200-h630-p-k-no-nu/Petrova+gora+02+copy.jpg
  • + 0
 I recognized the monument immediately and I'm glad there is a real discussion going on. I visited Petrova Gora (also a run-down war memorial in Croatia) with my wife. Her grandfather is actually buried there... and all I could think was "you could build some sweet trails around here".
  • + 2
 I love a bit of Soviet concrete brutalism.
  • + 2
 Cool photo, odd monument. When was it made eric?
  • + 0
 Early 70s if I remember correctly.
  • + 4
 1966. It's the memorial monument at the Jasenovac World War II concentration camp in Croatia.
  • + 0
 @santxo: Indeed.
  • + 1
 Selfie radness! "POD" material buddy!
  • + 0
 Thanks Smile
  • + 1
 Wao man congratulations that's pretty good in all the senses
  • + 0
 concrete is awesome ! shape it how you want it !
  • + 1
 Rad!
  • + 0
 Cool
  • + 0
 Amazing!

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