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Second Home

Photographer: Hugo Estrela

Aljirca Mar­janovic is a five year old lit­tle girl com­ing from Bosnia and Herze­gov­ina. She has four sis­ters and one brother. The older one is twelve years old and they live all to­gether in Berlin with their par­ents.

I pho­tographed Aljirca aside from a pro­ject (also pho­tog­ra­phy) of so­cial in­te­gra­tion which is still in progress and evolves in many dif­fer­ent forms, but the base of it is the sim­ple in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple. She was part of many chil­dren who were cu­ri­ous about our pro­ject, de­vel­oped in the street, open to every­one.

Apart from our goal, I have made a cou­ple of por­traits. This one is my favourite. Aljirca, al­ways calm and cu­ri­ous, con­trasted with her older sis­ter pro­tec­tive fig­ure, re­gard­ing my pres­ence with the cam­era. It is dif­fi­cult for me to imag­ine how com­pli­cated will be for a child to cope with the cir­cum­stances of em­i­gra­tion. The dif­fer­ence be­tween a five year old child and, for ex­am­ple, a grad­u­ated stu­dent search­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties, is the fact that the child will not dis­tin­guish a first from a sec­ond home.

An adult is al­ways more or less pre­pared to face re­al­i­ties such as seg­re­ga­tion, dis­crim­i­na­tion or in­tol­er­ance. These are words which a child does not com­pre­hend and those will be­come even more in­com­pre­hen­sive through the time when the child re­al­izes she grew up on the same place where she is being re­jected. I don’t know which one is Aljirca's sec­ond home, she will de­cide.

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