Photography has made our lives better in so many ways. But perhaps you’ve wondered how you can take photos for the greater good. Maybe you asked yourself if you could change someone’s life with your photography. It may sound a little pretentious, but it doesn’t have to be. And today, I want to give you a proof.
I’ll tell you a story about a photographer who changed someone’s life for the better with just one photo. His name is Đorđe Đoković, and he comes from Valjevo, Serbia. He kindly shared the truly incredible story behind his photo that will make everyone tear up. First, you’ll cry out of sadness but then out of joy.
About the photo
I believe that everyone in Serbia and the entire region saw Đorđe’s remarkable photo Život sa druge strane (Life on the Other Side). It won the People category of the Serbian National Geographic Contest 2022 and quickly went viral. Just take a look at it, and you’ll understand why.
Đorđe took the photo in April 2022 at a kid’s birthday party. While snapping away, he noticed a little Romani girl on the other side of the glass. She starkly contrasted the girl inside: she was wearing an old hoodie, probably inherited from an older sibling. Her hair was messy, and she had this inexplicably sad look in her eyes.
“Inside is a child celebrating their birthday, a child who has everything in abundance,” Đorđe says. “On the other side, there’s someone who has nothing, who comes there to beg for charity.” The Romani girl was staring at the girl inside, who was wearing a nice outfit and face painting as she was carelessly sipping her juice box. Some viewers even notice a glimpse of a tear in the Romani girl’s eye despite the beautiful, calm smile on her lips.
“Each of us sees a different message or a different point to the image,” Đorđe explains. “I noticed the smile on her face. Others noticed the tear.” As if the photo itself wasn’t moving enough, what happened later was incredible. The photo caused so many reactions, leading to an incredible course of events.
What happened later
After Đorđe’s photo touched so many hearts, the media first tracked down the Romani girl. Their quest and efforts prompted social services in Valjevo to find a foster family for her. Her name is Zorica. She no longer lives in the streets and enrolled in the first grade this September.
For Đorđe, this news was way more important than the one about his photo winning the NatGeo contest. “The very idea of my photo changing her life for the better… That’s more rewarding than any awards I could ever get.” And how can it not be? Knowing that your photo turned at least one life around, especially a child’s life… That’s absolutely priceless!
About Đorđe Đoković
Đorđe runs his wedding photography business with a colleague. And here’s an interesting trivia: his buddy’s name is also Đorđe Đoković. How often do you see something like that? Anyhow, you can take a look look at more of Đorđe’s and other Đorđe’s work on their website and Instagram (here and here), find their video work on YouTube, and connect with them through Facebook.