Five Hundred to One Chance

© Bogdanka Polovina, \'The One\'
© Bogdanka Polovina, 'The One'

Early in the year 2001, in the city of Belgrade, yet another photo exposition/competition was being planned by a compulsive coordinator of such events. This time the collection of little photographs was titled “Goodbye 20th Century - With Photography to Eternity” - whatever that name was meant to convey. I was invited along, I presume, to swell the foreign guest list and to contribute some images for the show. This was an opportunity for me to see the results of the wanton 1999 NATO aggression when in addition to the bombing in the city all those Danube bridges in the vicinity were destroyed. So I was prepared to go along.

The photo show was staged in two huge locations where close on half a thousand pictures were on display. On arrival I declined the offer of a guided tour by the organisers and embarked on a solitary exploration in order to avoid the lobby of jurists who were attempting to justify their award results.

After the prolonged process of evaluating the mostly dreary and pretentious offerings I was delighted to come across an image that showed without a doubt what a fun project this had been for the photographer. When I had completed my rounds I was approached by a bright-eyed young lady who introduced herself as Bogdanka Polovina, a graduate from the local Art Academy. She asked if I had a favoured choice. After leading her along several halls I stopped at this one image that had lifted my spirits that afternoon. The expression on her face was one of utter disbelief. It was her photograph.

A while later, during the opening ceremony, I was invited to address the assembled audience and I could not wait to tell them about the delightful picture with the five chairs and five easels. This was not what the jury chairman expected or wanted to hear. With a show of great pomposity he stalked off the stage......I could clearly see smoke coming out of his ears.

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