AT 3 AM – Ivan Blazhev


AT 3 AM – Ivan Blazhev



“…and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day. At that hour the tendency is to refuse to face things as long as possible by retiring into an infantile dreamF. Scott Fitzgerald in “The Crack-up”


About the project:

Under the auspices of “SK-2014” a curious proliferation of statues, monuments and neo-classical and baroque architecture have been popping up across the Macedonian capital during the last few years. As a result of this still ongoing project, Macedonia’s capital Skopje has been built, torn apart, rebuilt, covered and masked, undergoing a facelift beyond recognition. But the facelift goes much deeper under the surface. SK-2014 is a revisionist project which has been rewriting the history of the city and it has been redefining the identity. Much debated and with strong international and local opposition, the project has been under the scrutiny of the public, but nevertheless the government continued with the project, deeply carving through the Skopje urban landscape.


“At 3 a.m.” is a personal photographic narrative of confrontation, transformation and intimate battle,documenting the trauma from the abrupt changes to the face of the city. Photographing the changing urban landscape, as well as the human landscape within it, it is an effort to make sense of the new reality, finding a way through the new landscape, of coming to terms with the city. It is not a project about documenting the change, but rather it is a project about the psychological impact of the change and a search for a sense of identity and community within the new landscape. The project represents photographer’s personal gaze into memories, changes and socio-political impact on the individual and the community.


“Ivan Blazhev’s latest black-and-white photographic adventure is at the same time wakeful, as it is disconcerting and sleep depriving. It documents the trauma from the abrupt changes to the face of the city. From time to time, it throws red pepper in our eyes with the perspectives from which it observes the city. In his suggestive and subtle photographic nocturnes, Blazhev showcases his intimate view of contemporary Skopje. Even in his “day-time” photographs, he manages to capture a sense of the night, as well as the phantasmagoric and almost nightmarish feeling that pervades. The night setting is frequently depicted through the mild haziness of the photographed objects, while the oneiric ambience suggests that the night can be captured even with the sun in its zenith.

Vladimir Martinovski in the afterword

of the photo book “At 3 AM”  


*The photographs were made between 2013 and 2016 in Skopje, Macedonia.


Short biography of the author:

Ivan Blažev was born in 1974 in Skopje, Macedonia. He has graduated from Brooklyn College (NYC, USA) with BA in Filmmaking and holds an MFA degree in Photography from the Academy of Arts of Novi Sad (Serbia). Works as a photographer, filmmaker and educator. He has exhibited his work at national and international museum and gallery venues. In 2008 his project Macedonia Dreaming was part of Beyond Walls – Eastern Europe after 1989program at the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands. In 2011 he was featured in the exhibition Fragments: Macedonian art scene 1991 – 2011at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje. Blazhev has published five photobooks.

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