Photography and cinematography
In Croatia, photography appeared around 1840. Among the first to make daguerreotypes was Demetrije Novaković, who was followed by many other amateurs, such as Juraj Drašković and Dragutin Antun Parčić. After 1850, photography ateliers were established throughout Croatia: in Zagreb, there were the ateliers of Franjo Pommer, Julius Hühn, Ivan Standl, the author of the first photo-monograph, Rudolf Mosinger and Antonija Kulčar; in Zadar, the ateliers of Tomas Burat and others. In the late 19th century, photographers leaned towards verismo – for instance Karlo Drašković, the author of the first momentary photograph – or pictorialism, such as Antun Stiasni, while Stjepan Erdödy explored the possibilities of the medium of photography and created the first photomontages and photocollages. During the interwar period, Franjo Mosinger embraced the aesthetics of the new reality and, with his montages, came close to the avant-garde movements, as did Ivana Tomljenović-Meller.
In the 1930s, the Zagreb School of Art Photography was founded; it introduced social-criticism themes and was led by Tošo Dabac, who became the leading name of Croatian photography.
The most prominent representatives of post-war photography are Mladen Grčević, who made life-photographs, Oto Hohnjec, who exhibited the first colour photograph, Zlata Laura Mizner, Đuro Griesbach, Marijan Szabo, Milan Pavić and Slavka Pavić. Brothers Ante and Zvonimir Brkan, Zlatko Zrnec, Nino Vranić and Mitja Koman brought new artistic interpretations of reality, while psychological motivation is discernible in the works of Marija Braut, Branko Balić and Mladen Tudor. A huge aesthetic shift occurred in the 1970s through the work of Ivan Posavec, Mio Vesović, Boris Cvjetanović, Andrija Zelmanović and Fedor Vučemilović, mostly in the youth press; Tomislav Gotovac, Josip Klarica, Željko Borčić, Željko Jerman, Vladimir Gudac and Šime Strikoman, whose photographs reflected progressive artistic ideas, from hyperrealism to conceptualism; and through the work of the representatives of what was known as the Nova umjetnička praksa/New Art Practice/, such as Dalibor Martinis, Slobodan (Braco) Dimitrijević and Sanja Iveković.
Reaching maturity in the late 20th century was a generation of photographers who, alongside the traditional techniques (Žarko Vijatović and Luka Mjeda), employed postmodernist methods and computer support (Sandro Đukić and Damir Hoyka). Among the best representatives of contemporary Croatian photography at the turn of the 21st century are Jasenko Rasol, Ivana Vučić, Ana Opalić, Mara Bratoš, Marko Ercegović, Silvija Potočki Smiljanić and Sandra Vitaljić.
The most prominent practitioners of applied photography are Pavao Cajzek (newspaper photography); Ivan Balić Cobra, Stephan Lupino, Boris Berc and Mare Milin (fashion photography); Nedjeljko Čaće, Nenad Gattin, Krešimir Tadić, Ivo Eterović, Ivo Pervan, Damir Fabijanić and Marin Topić (photography of works of art, architecture, monuments and design); and the tandem of Mario Krištofić and Sanja Bachrach-Krištofić.
Professional Croatian cinematography began to develop in continuity only in the mid-20th century, although the first preserved film recordings of Croatian regions were made in 1898 (only three years after the invention of film) by Alexandre Promio, a cameraman for the Lumière company, and in 1904 by Frank Mottorshaw, the British film pioneer. The Croatian cameraman Josip Halla filmed the Balkan wars for the Éclaire film journal, while the Croatian actor Zvonimir Rogoz made a notable Central European career between the two world wars. Oktavijan Miletić’s 16-mm films are of enormous significance for European film culture and amateurism, while the educational films produced by the School of Public Health are an early example of a well-rounded documentary school attaining world-level quality. The Independent State of Croatia (1941–45) organised the production of propaganda documentary and cultural films within the framework of the State Film Institute ‘Hrvatski slikopis’ (‘Croatian Film’), which became the Film Directorate for Croatia after the war and, in 1946, Jadran Film, the central film studio until 1991. At the height of the industrialisation and modernisation of the country in the 1950s, cinema became part of general and urbanised culture and cinema-going – a daily pastime.
As early as in the mid-1950s, Croatian cinema broke away from ideological engagement and the first masterpieces were produced: Koncert/The Concert/ (Branko Belan, 1954), Ne okreći se, sine/Don’t Look Back, My Son/ (Branko Bauer, 1956) and H-8… (Nikola Tanhofer, 1858). Jadran Film became a successful international co-producer for films shot in Croatia, winning two Oscar nominations for best international feature film: Cesta duga godinu dana/The Road a Year Long/ (Giuseppe de Santis, 1958) and Deveti krug/The Ninth Circle/ (France Štiglic, 1960). On the threshold of the 1960s, other film genres also flourished: a large number of documentaries toured international festivals (films by Krsto Papić and Rudolf Sremac); the internationally influential anti-film movement (authors Mihovil Pansini, Tomislav Gotovac, Vladimir Petek) developed in Zagreb and was active from 1963 to 1970 as part of the GEFF experimental film festival; while animated films made by the Zagreb Film Animated Film Studio became a world sensation under the name of the Zagreb School of Animated Film (Dušan Vukotić, Nikola Kostelac, Vlado Kristl, Vatroslav Mimica, Zlatko Grgić, Boris Kolar, Nedeljko Dragić, Zlatko Bourek, Borivoj Dovniković, Pavao Štalter, Zdenko Gašparović, Aleksandar Marks, Vladimir Jutriša and others).
In the 1960s, feature film also underwent a change, acquiring the modern form of naration and contributing to the Yugoslav Partisan film in the co-production of which Croatian directors, cameramen, actors and film studios also participated (for instance, the Oscar-nominated spectacle Bitka na Neretvi/The Battle of Neretva/ by Veljko Bulajić). In the 1960s and 1970s, Croatian film-making was characterised by auteur films that were part of the Eastern European ‘new film’ trend (the films of Vatroslav Mimica, Ante Babaja, Krsto Papić, Tomislav Radić, Zvonimir Berković, Krešo Golik, Antun Vrdoljak, Fadil Hadžić and Lordan Zafranović), while genre films in the postmodernist vein dominated in the 1980s (for instance, films by Zoran Tadić and Rajko Grlić). In the early 1990s, due to the breakup of Yugoslavia and the war, Croatian cinematography went through an organisational and production crisis; however, a new generation of directors soon emerged (Zrinko Ogresta, Lukas Nola, Vinko Brešan, Hrvoje Hribar, Dalibor Matanić, Ognjen Sviličić, Arsen Anton Ostojić).
Since 2000, multi-screen cinemas have opened in all major cities, while the network of independent cinemas was renewed and digitalised in 2010. Production was particularly reanimated in 2008, after the establishement of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), the central public agency for the audiovisual sector, and an increase in international cooperation through membership in the Eurimages European co-production film support fund and cooperation in the European Union’s MEDIA programme. In the 2010s, the public film policy advocated by the HAVC led to the stabilisation and international recognisability of Croatian cinematography and a continuous support for documentary, experimental and animated films, which resulted in an increase in foreign co-productions filmed in Croatia and a diversification of production, manifest in the first place in a much greater creative representation of women.