Počitelj, “the city of stone” (as named by Ivo Andrić, the Yugoslav writer), is a small village in Bosnia and Herzegovina located close to the Neretva River.

During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, the Croatian Ustashe armed groups forced the village’s inhabitants to flee their homes, committing an ethnic cleansing with systematic killings and deportations to concentration camps.

Twenty years after the end of those atrocities, only a small fraction of the population came back to live in Počitelj. They once again devote themselves to what has always been their main source of sustenance: the land.

“Odavle samo u harem,” which literally means “from here to the cemetery,” is the evidence of my return to the place where I was born. In this project, I rediscover places and people who were supposed to be a part of my everyday life before I was forced to abandon them as a child.

—Sulejman Bijedić

Editors’ note: Bijedić’s project was recognized by the jury of the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2017—don’t miss the work from all 44 of the outstanding, international talents!

If you enjoyed this article, you might like one of these previous features: From Korea to the Yucatan, a series on the Korean-Mayan descendants of workers who came to the Yucatan at the beginning of the 20th century; Les Symboles Invisibles, images of the massive monuments raised by the former Yugoslavia to celebrate the success of a more egalitarian, anti-fascist society—which take on new meaning in the contemporary landscape; and Soon to be Gone, a project about the fading countryside in Lithuania.