You may not know it, but you’ve probably seen the work of the Serbian-born, Brooklyn-based photographer known simply as “Boogie.” (The look of his work is that of a darker, globe-trotting Lee Friedlander.) Boogie has worked with such clients as Nike and Lee Jeans, and his work has appeared in publications from The New York Times to Hamburger Eyes. Last year saw the publication of his first monograph, It’s All Good, an intense, graphic tour through the drug culture of some of New York’s grittiest neighborhoods. Next month, powerHouse Books will publish his second book, Boogie, a collection of 120 black-and-white photographs shot around the world over the past few years.
But Boogie’s career hasn’t been all billboards, Ethan Hawke Playboy portraits, and improbably elegant crackheads. Growing up in Belgrade, he snapped his first photos of civil war rebellion and unrest. After immigrating to the United States in 1998, he pursued photography while taking on odd jobs, ultimately becoming frustrated at the apparent impossibility of breaking into the New York photo world and taking a two-year hiatus from shooting. Then one day he posted 20 of his photos to a website he designed and within a few weeks had received thousands of visitors. This ultimately led to a meeting with tinyvices.com‘s Tim Barber and a number of projects, including the first powerHouse monograph.
So what motivates Boogie to capture on film everything from junkies and skinheads to pigeons and subway-riding nuns? “The whole story about photographers doing what they do because they want to change the world, expose harsh reality of wars, starvation, violence–is aaaaaagh, crap,” he says. “They (me too, I guess) do what they do because it gives them thrills. They become addicted to the adrenalin rush, to the world not everyone is allowed to see.”