Outside of Bratislava’s mainstream society, an unconventional community has taken shape. Facing the reality of homelessness, individuals – mostly former criminals and some drug addicts – choose to create their own society where they can live by their own rules.
Slovakian photographer Peter Dobis follows the people of this community, residing in self-constructed shelters, abandoned buildings and social dormitories. This way of life has been formed as an alternative to occupying the streets of Slovakia’s capital, where individuals would find themselves side-lined.
These conditions are rarely the only focus of the series however; Dobis’s interest lies in capturing all factors of life and personal circumstances. Individuals’ bold personalities dominate his close up, black and white images, as his subjects present themselves unapologetically and openly to the camera. Here characters create their own place; the portraits are bold and revealing and, despite Dobis’s status as an outsider to the community, his narrative does not communicate a distance from his subjects. Instead his images translate an understanding of these individuals’ circumstances and the complexities of the lifestyles at hand.